LOS ANGELES and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 19, 2009 – The President of the United States Barack Obama will be the third guest featured in the television special Get Schooled: You Have the Right, Viacom (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today. The 30-minute documentary highlights the education challenges, life choices and breakthroughs experienced by speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, music director Jason Halbert and marketing executive Latesha Williams – three professionals who provide critical support to these leading figures in politics, entertainment and sports. As announced on Aug. 13, pop superstar Kelly Clarkson and 2009 NBA MVP LeBron James will also appear in the show. Get Schooled: You Have the Right premieres Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. and is the first programming “roadblock” of any kind across all Viacom networks including BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV and Nickelodeon.
During the documentary, President Obama said, “What Sarah, Jason and Latesha’s stories teach us is that education is the key to living out your dreams. So as this new school year begins, I urge you to set goals for your own education: to study hard and get involved in your school; to try new things and find something you’re passionate about. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help when you need it. That’s how you learn. That’s how you get ahead. And that’s how our nation will get ahead – by ensuring that every American gets a world class education, from preschool to college to a career. So get schooled. Your future – and our nation’s future – depend on it.”
Get Schooled: You Have the Right will air commercial-free, in partnership with AT&T, Capital One Financial Corporation and NYSE Euronext. The program formally kicks off “Get Schooled,” a five-year national initiative co-developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom that creates a platform for corporate and community stakeholders to address the challenges facing America’s public schools.
“Viacom is committed to raising the national consciousness about how we can improve educational performance in America. President Obama and his Administration have made a strong commitment to educating and preparing America’s young people for the new jobs of the 21st century. Business has a crucial role to play in this effort,” said Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom. “Get Schooled is a vital platform that will help to connect corporate and community efforts.”
“Education is the key to opportunity and economic progress, for our young people and our nation. President Obama’s bold leadership on education and the unparalleled commitment of resources to encourage meaningful reform makes this a unique moment in time for our education system. Engaging the American people in this effort is critical to its success, advancing student achievement, and ensuring that we continue to produce the brightest minds to lead our country successfully into the future,” said Allan Golston, president of the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
President Obama, Kelly Clarkson and LeBron James are featured in the show alongside their trusted professional colleagues who work behind-the-scenes but have equally inspiring personal stories and are successes in their own right. President Obama joins his speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, who chronicles her experience growing up in Wayland, Mass. to her days as an undergraduate and law student and her current job at the White House. Jason Halbert has been music director for Kelly Clarkson since 2003. The Beaumont, TX native has cultivated a life-long love of music to become a Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter, including Clarkson’s latest album, “All I Ever Wanted.” Latesha Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y., combined education, perseverance and her dream of working in the music and sports industries to land several internships for high-profile business and entertainment figures, which ultimately led to her appointment as Assistant Account Director for LRMR working with LeBron James.
The show will air simultaneously on the following Viacom networks: BET, BET J, CMT, CMT Pure Country, COMEDY CENTRAL, Logo, MTV, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, MTV2, mtvU, Nick at Nite, Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Noggin, Spike TV, The N/Teen Nick, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic and VH1 Soul. The program will be subtitled in Spanish on MTV Tr3s.
Get Schooled: You Have the Right is created and executive produced by Dave Sirulnick and executive produced and directed by Lauren Lazin. @radical.media is a strategic, creative and production partner of the Get Schooled initiative.
ABOUT GET SCHOOLED
Get Schooled is a national platform that connects, inspires and mobilizes people – from policymakers and corporate leaders to communities and kids – to find effective solutions to the problems facing our education system. It provides resources and information, community outreach and creative programming that engage a range of audiences around America’s education crisis. Get Schooled’s co-developers are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, including BET Networks, MTV Networks and Paramount Pictures. The initiative combines the Foundation’s deep knowledge of education reform with the power of Viacom’s diverse brands to raise awareness about the challenges facing America’s public education system.
To find out more about Get Schooled and the initiative’s groundbreaking national television premiere on Sept. 8, visit www.getschooled.com.
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