Showtime Shines At First 'POP' Awards

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Showtime Networks Inc. was the big winner at Cable Positive's star-studded first annual "Positively Outstanding Programming" awards last week.

Black Entertainment Television, Cable News Network and MTV: Music Television also took home POP Awards, which acknowledge excellence in programming focused on HIV and AIDS, Cable Positive executive director Steve Villano said.

TV Guide Inc. sponsored the non-televised awards show, which — along with NAMIC's Vision Awards — is exclusive to cable programmers.

The event was more of a celebration of the industry's programming initiatives than a typical awards show, said Villano. The goal was to inform and educate the public about HIV and AIDS.

"The cable industry is leading the public dialogue about HIV/AIDS by donating hundreds of hours of time to air Cable Positive-produced public service announcements, as well as groundbreaking new programs," he said. "Cable television, its talent and its programmers deserve recognition for continuing to keep HIV/AIDS on the public's mind."

Showtime won the POP award for network of the year, while its series Queer as Folk
shared the outstanding original series award with MTV's Undressed, said Cable Positive director of marketing, communications and web development Thomas Dima.

MTV's Staying Alive 3
garnered the outstanding special programming award.

BET won the outstanding news coverage accolade for its special Under One Roof: Face of AIDS, How AIDS Is Disrupting the Black Community,
as well as the outstanding newsmagazine award for its special The Naked Truth.

CNN's documentary AIDS: A Dream Deferred
took top honors in that category, while its America's Best: Science and Medicine
special won the outstanding biographical program award.

Dima said more than 6,000 visitors to TV Guide.com's Web site voted for the POP celebrity of the year award, which went to rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. The organization is already planning its second awards event for 2003, he added.

"The networks were happy that we're doing something like this," Dima said. "It gives them the kudos to produce more HIV/AIDS-related programming in the future."

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