Press release from the Television Academy, April 12, 2017:
The Television Academy today announced this year’s honorees for the 10th Annual Television Academy Honors, recognizing six exceptional programs available on various platforms that have harnessed the extraordinary power of television to advance social change.
The 2017 honorees reflect some of the most popular and relevant series, specials and programs on television and include: Before the Flood, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Night Of, Speechless, This Is Us, and We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World.
Television Academy Honors celebrates a diverse range of programing that explores and confronts significant issues facing our society in a compelling and impactful way, and acknowledges showrunners and producers who tackle complex social challenges to advance change. Honorees of the 10th Annual Television Academy Honors will be recognized at a special presentation and reception held on Thursday, June 8, at the Montage Beverly Hills hosted by actress, producer, and activist Dana Delany.
“With a constant presence in people’s daily lives, television consistently demonstrates its ability to power social change. The six honorees have effectively leveraged the medium to raise awareness of complex issues,” said Television Academy Chairman and CEO Hayma Washington. “We are honored to acknowledge storytellers producing meaningful television that provokes important conversations.”
Lucia Gervino chaired this year’s Television Academy Honors selection committee for the fourth consecutive year. Honorees were selected from a record number of submissions and represent a remarkably diverse and socially-significant range of issues including climate change and the environment, reproductive rights, race and racism, criminal justice, disabilities, prejudice, parenting, body image, race, education, and women’s rights.
Recipients of the Tenth Annual Television Academy Honors are:
Before the Flood (National Geographic) − Academy Award-winning director Fisher Stevens teamed with Academy Award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to create a film centered on protecting the planet. Hailed as “a rousing call to action,” the film displays a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring around the world due to climate change and advocates for the actions we can take to prevent its catastrophic disruption. (A RatPac Documentary Films Presentation of an Appian Way Production in association with Insurgent Docs and Diamond Docs)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) − This season, viewers were entertained by engaging, deeply researched stories, presented in unorthodox ways; the series also has brought topics that might have escaped the audience to the forefront. One of these topics includes reproductive rights, specifically addressing how availability to safe abortion options for American women has already been dangerously reduced or denied in several states through loopholes and technicalities in the laws. (Produced by HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television)
The Night Of (HBO) − This eight-part limited series delves into the intricacies of a murder case in New York City that addresses what happens to suspects in the American criminal justice system, and whether they committed the crime or not. The series brings the inner workings, flaws and life-changing effects of the justice system into focus and touches on issues of race, religion, and class. (Produced by HBO Entertainment in association with BBC, Bad Wolf Productions and Film Rites)
Speechless (ABC) − This family-centered comedy tells the story of JJ DiMeo, a young man with cerebral palsy, and addresses how his family fights injustices both real and imagined. The show explores life with disability and the challenges and joys that come with it, including searching for independence, respect, and finding a voice. (Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios)
This Is Us (NBC) − A provocative ensemble drama, This Is Us follows the stories of a family at different stages in their lives. The emotionally honest, intergenerational drama explores an array of topics including marriage, adoption, racial identity, body image, and hurdles of parenting in a way that creates an open dialogue. (Produced by 20th Century Fox Television)
We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World (CNN) – Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freida Pinto and CNN’s Isha Sesay take an unforgettable journey to Morocco and Liberia, where they meet young women overcoming incredible odds to better their lives. The program creates a platform for these courageous women to tell their stories. (Produced by CNN Films and The Documentary Group)
Eligible programs for this year’s Television Academy Honors aired during the 2016 calendar year and were submitted in the fiction/nonfiction categories as whole series, single episodes or story arcs up to three episodes. Television movies, limited series, and fiction/nonfiction specials were also eligible to apply for Television Academy Honors.