May 23, 2013 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Neil Patrick Harris to Introduce USA Network's 'Milk' Broadcast (Exclusive)
USA Network has selected the next film in its Characters Unite initiative, setting Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris to introduce a special broadcast of Harvey Milk biopic Milk.
The eight-time Academy Award-nominated feature will kick off Gay Pride Month and air Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m. with limited commercial interruption.
"This film series has allowed us to present to audiences some of the most courageous characters of our time," NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group chairman Bonnie Hammer said. "Harvey Milk gave hope to generations of gay and lesbian Americans by encouraging them to live their lives openly and to speak out against the discrimination and prejudice they faced. We are honored to share his story in commemoration of Gay Pride Month.”
The feature marks the fourth film in USA's Characters Unite quarterly film series dedicated to using the power of storytelling to increase awareness of social injustice, stimulate dialogue and encourage progress. To Kill a Mockingbird launched the series in April 2012 with an introduction from President Barack Obama, followed by The Color Purple (introduced by Whoopi Goldberg) and Schindler's List in February (introduced by Steven Spielberg). The latter attracted 3.2 million total viewers.
Sean Penn won a best actor Oscar for his role as Milk, a gay-rights activist who in 1977 became the first openly gay man voted into public office in California. USA's announcement comes on the fifth annual Harvey Milk Day, which was established in 2009 to honor his memory.