In conjunction with Don Mischer Productions, Spike TV will celebrate the career of Eddie Murphy with the first-ever televised tribute to the comedic icon.  The event will pay homage to Murphy’s journey from a 15-year-old aspiring comedian, to the record-breaking “Raw,” which remains the highest grossing stand-up film of all time, to his indelible characters and impressions from “Saturday Night Live” including Buckwheat, Gumby, Mr. Robinson and James Brown.

Comedy fans will be treated to an evening filled with some of Hollywood’s biggest comedic superstars appearing and performing at Spike TV’s “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only,” the first-ever televised tribute to the comedy legend.   Joining the all-star talent roster, which features many of Murphy’s peers and co-stars, includes Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Tyler Perry, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Nick Nolte.   In addition, The Roots will perform throughout the evening as the show’s house band.  “Eddie Murphy: One Night Only” will tape on Saturday, November 3 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles and will air on Wednesday, November 14, on Spike TV.

Previously announced talent includes Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Tracy Morgan, Arsenio Hall, Brett Ratner, Charlie Murphy, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Martin Lawrence.   

The exclusive Spike TV event, produced in conjunction with Don Mischer Productions, will include short films, musical performances, sketch comedy and culminate in an appearance by Murphy. 
On Oct. 29, PBS will air the groundbreaking story of Bishop Gene Robinson, Love Free or Die. Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom. Auburn Theological Seminary got behind the film as part of the ongoing effort to reframe the narrative around religion and LGBTQ people.

Untold in the story of the evolution of American opinions on gay marriage, LGBTQ equality, and religion are institutions like Auburn, who push a positive, unifying conversation forward and work not to deny rights but to remind Christians that we are all children of God, made in God’s image, and to communicate the full humanity of LGBTQ people. Dr. Katharine Henderson, Auburn’s president, is one of those leading the charge for change.

The film is just the latest example of how Auburn Theological Seminary, which is based in New York, has been a leading religious voice on the issue of LGBTQ dignity and the acceptance of and support for LGBTQ people through a faith lens. The organization has  launched a number of innovative initiatives designed to advance LGBTQ dignity, including a tool kit that outlines practical advice for how to talk to Christians conflicted about LGTBQ people and the church.

Auburn is also preparing to launch a first-of-its kind innovative website that will allow same-sex marriage advocates to create individualized conversation plans to help conflicted friends and family members understand the importance of legalizing same-sex marriage. By identifying the relationship, age, sex, geographic location and faith of the conversation partner, advocates can find specialized information that is likely to speak to that particular person. The website is scheduled to launch by the film’s airing.

Often, coverage of gay marriage debates demonizes either LGBTQ people or religious followers who struggle with acceptance. Auburn takes a much more nuanced, bridge-building approach, focusing instead on helping the faithful understand how Christian teachings compel acceptance of LGBTQ people, not deny it. But as Christians become more and more accepting of gay rights, this approach is the future of the movement.

As the film, which won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance, traces Robinson’s history from small town churches in New Hampshire to Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, it also traces America’s history from accepted anti-gay bias to a rapidly growing groundswell of support for gay marriage. It also gives a unique look into evolving Christian attitudes about gay marriage and LGBTQ people and the church.

Macky Alston, Auburn’s Vice President of Communications, directed Love Free or Die.

Source: press release
AS GAY MARRIAGE TAKES CENTER STAGE, this award-winning documentary set to bring its political take on same-sex relationships to public television.

by Fifth House Public Relations

A true grassroots success story, the documentary Inlaws & Outlaws has been credited with changing minds about marriage equality from coast-to-coast, seen at community screenings in churches, schools, and indie theatres from Maine to Oklahoma to Washington. Now, on the eve of a national election and four statewide votes that could dramatically impact the momentum of the marriage equality movement in the U.S., the award-winning film has been picked up for broadcast on public television stations nationwide beginning this fall.

Inlaws & Outlaws has already been scheduled for broadcast on KCTS 9 in Washington state, where it will air one week before the election. In addition, the film will be screened throughout Washington in partnership with Washington United for Marriage, giving citizens more opportunities to truly understand the issues posed by that state’s Referendum 74. Marriage equality votes are also scheduled in Maine and Maryland and a constitutional amendment is under consideration in Minnesota.

“For the past seven years, Inlaws & Outlaws has been embraced and sustained by expected and unexpected supporters, in some very unexpected places,” notes the film’s director Drew Emery. “Its reach has grown just as attitudes have changed. When I set out to make the film, marriage equality was largely seen as a fringe issue, a pipe dream that concerned only the gay community. Now with President Obama’s support and equal marriage increasingly seen as the civil rights issue of our time, Inlaws & Outlaws has found its feet and taken on a whole new life as it continues to do what it does best: making sure our stories get told.”

Originally premiering at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2005, the film features the real-life love stories of gay and straight Americans, young and old, partnered, single, widowed, and divorced. With an apolitical take on what was then a nascent culture war issue, the film has succeeded by placing its focus on the commonality of all relationships: love. The film reveals, with genuine humor and suspense, how the universal experiences of love —– seeking it, finding it, watching it deepen, or losing it — enrich all of us. Out of the gate, the film enjoyed a successful festival circuit run, picking up awards and winning positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The breadth of the film’s appeal first became clear when it won the Grand Jury Award at Oklahoma City’s deadCENTER Film Festival.

But then, just at the point when similar films disappear from the public consciousness, something very different happened. Filmmaker Drew Emery recalls, “People from across the country began tracking me down and asking about the film, a great many of them clergy from places like Boise, Dayton, and Tulsa. They’d heard about the film and were eager to bring it to their communities to help bridge what felt like an untenable divide on a contentious issue.”

In response, Emery launched the Hearts + Mind Campaign, a grassroots effort to make Inlaws & Outlaws available to any individual, organization, or community that wants to host a screening. Since then, 500+ screenings have been held throughout the United States, with nearly half of them hosted by churches and synagogues. “That’s not big box office but it’s a mighty big impact,” Emery says, noting that, among other things, the film’s audiences contradict the media perception that gay rights are inherently in conflict with religious communities.

“My wife and I first started showing the film in our living room, then my church, and soon we had so many other churches requesting it. It’s really made a difference in Oklahoma,” says Jim Wheeler, a retired Methodist pastor who organized several screenings across Oklahoma.

Bishop Gene Robinson, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, adds, “Inlaws & Outlaws... shows that gay and lesbian people are every bit as serious about their relationships, and that those relationships are every bit as deserving of society’s acknowledgment, as their straight counterparts. This is a film that will change people’s minds by changing their hearts. It is a ‘must see.’”

For broadcast dates, screenings, and more information about Inlaws & Outlaws, please visit

A lineup of top entertainers including Kristin Chenoweth, Steve Harvey,  Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, John Krasinski, Jason Mraz, Lily Tomlin and others will salute Ellen DeGeneres at the 15th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Monday, October 22, 2012, at 8:30 p.m.  The evening will pay tribute the humor and accomplishments of Ellen DeGeneres, and will be taped by WETA Washington, D.C. as Ellen DeGeneres: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize. The program will air on PBS stations nationwide October 30, 2012, at 8:00pm ET (check local listings). Artists subject to change.

Ellen DeGeneres' distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world. She has made a home for herself in the daytime arena with her hit syndicated talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Now in its 10th season, the show has earned a total of 38 Daytime Emmy Awards. Additionally, DeGeneres has won 12 People’s Choice Awards and most recently, the Teen Choice Award for “Choice Comedian” for a third consecutive year. Additionally, the show has won two Genesis Award, and a GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Talk Show Episode.”

DeGeneres has been included in Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women and was also included in Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Most Powerful Entertainers. She was honored with Television Week's Syndication Personality of the Year and has been included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

She hosted the highly rated 79th Annual Academy Awards® and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.” In addition to hosting the Oscars®, DeGeneres has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards three times.  Her performance hosting the 2001 awards show garnered her rave reviews for providing a perfect balance of wit with heartfelt emotion to the post-September 11th telecast audience. DeGeneres served as host for an array of industry events including the 38th and 39th annual Grammy Awards®, for which she earned an Emmy nomination.

DeGeneres also received critical success for her HBO stand-up specials. The Beginning received two Emmy nominations in 2001 and the special entitled Here and Now was also nominated for two Emmys in 2003.

The best-selling author released her third book in October 2011 titled, Seriously…I’m Kidding, which includes a compilation of photos, quotes and stories from her life.  Her second book, The Funny Thing Is…., comprised of the author's comedic short stories and essays hit the New York Times bestseller list upon its release. In 2005, DeGeneres was nominated for a Grammy Award® for Best Comedy Album for the audio version of the book. Her first book, My Point…And I Do Have One, published in 1995, debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

DeGeneres’ career began as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans, which led to national recognition in 1982 when her videotaped club performances won Showtime’s “Funniest Person In America” honor. When DeGeneres moved to Los Angeles she filmed her first HBO Special, Young Comedians Reunion, then in 1986 Women of the Night. That same year, DeGeneres became the first female comedian to be summoned by Johnny Carson to sit down with him after her performance.
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize focuses on those who create humor from their uniquely American experiences.  The proceeds from the evening’s event are used to support the Kennedy Center’s programs, performances and outreach.   As recipient of the 2012 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Ms. DeGeneres will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and images of it are courtesy of the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Along with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the creators and executive producers of The Mark Twain Prize are Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and Cappy McGarr. WETA Washington, D.C. executive producers for Ellen DeGeneres: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.

The Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor was instituted as an annual event in October 1998.  Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005) Neil Simon (2006) Billy Crystal (2007) George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), Tina Fey (2010), and Will Ferrell (2011).