- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The TV Academy will honor eight programs that are examples of “television with a conscience,” including a “Brothers & Sisters” episode about same-sex marriage.

The programs focused on issues including tolerance, adoption, gun control, the environment and questions of faith, John Shaffner, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, said Wednesday.

The Television Honors, to be given at an April 30 ceremony, were instituted last year to recognize valuable work produced by the industry, Shaffner said.

“We do share a tremendous pride about the positive, great impact television has on our culture, and why not celebrate it? It’s great for us to stand up together and say, ‘Look at what television can bring into the homes of our audiences that informs and educates,’” he said.

This year’s recipients include “Brothers & Sisters: “Prior Commitments,” ABC; “A Home for the Holidays,” CBS; “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football,” HBO; and Extreme Makeover Home Edition: “The Martirez & Malek Families,” ABC.

Other honorees are “God on Trial” (“Masterpiece Contemporary”), PBS; “Stand Up to Cancer,” ABC, CBS, NBC; “30 Days,” FX; and “Whale Wars,” Animal Planet.

The recipients were selected by a TV Academy committee that reviewed nearly 150 entries, including scripted comedies and dramas, TV movies, and reality and documentary programs. The academy also administers the Emmy Awards.

Many of the programs held layered and complex messages, Shaffner said, citing “Whale Wars” as one example.

The program, about Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson and global friction over whaling, celebrates both conservation and the power of one individual to bring change, Shaffner said.

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