The USA Network has announced a change to its Saturday night programming. As part of its Characters Unite public-service campaign, the network is beginning a new quarterly film series November 17 with The Color Purple.
The film will be aired with limited ads and an introduction from Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the film. Previously, the network aired To Kill a Mockingbird with President Barack Obama introducing the film.
USA is doing this as part of NBCUniversal Cable entertainment chairperson Bonnie Hammer's campaign to promote diversity.
"I'm a big believer that we're not born knowing how to hate; we're taught to hate," she said. “We may be more sophisticated in how we hide it, but there are still so many phobias in this world, whether it’s Islamophobia, xenophobia or homophobia. I’ve been trying to do things that expose and help teach and draw attention to all of the 'isms' and how we do or don’t deal with them in our world. ”
Hammer wants the quarterly telecasts to ultimately work with panels, classroom applications and discussions with people involved with the films to dig deeper into them and what they signify. The Color Purple's airing will coincide with the United Nations' International Day of Tolerance and the 30th anniversary of the Alice Walker novel that the film was based on.
Saturday nights were selected for the series to better reach families and avoid ratings pressure.
Additional films in the series have not been announced, but Hammer has looked into Imitation of Life, Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Gentleman's Agreement and more.
"When you're doing something good, it's not as if people fight you about getting rights," she added.