Young inked in at Humanitas

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Writer-producer Cathleen Young has been named executive director of the Humanitas Prize.

Young succeeds Chris Donahue as the top executive overseeing the annual prizes, designed to recognize writers' films and television programs that shed light on the human condition through stories that strive for emotional depth and social relevance. Donahue, who spent five years with Humanitas, has joined Warner Bros. TV-based Shephard/Robin Co. as executive vp. He remains a trustee of the Humanitas Prize.

Young is a Humanitas winner for the 1994 Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm "A Place for Annie," which starred Sissy Spacek as a nurse who cares for an abandoned HIV-positive infant. Young's mandate from Humanitas Prize president Father Frank Desiderio is to increase the overall Humanitas endowment to allow the organization to award more money in each of its eight prize categories. At present, the prize amounts range from $10,000-$25,000. The 2007 honors will be handed out June 26 at a luncheon at the Hilton Universal.

"Cathleen is a respected member of the industry with a long and impressive list of accomplishments during her career," Desiderio said. "We are delighted to have someone of Cathleen's caliber play an important role in our growth."

Young's TV credits include working as a writer-producer on the CBS drama "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" as well as penning the 1990s CBS telefilms "Everything to Gain," "Her Own Rules" and Lifetime's "Navigating the Heart." She also has worked as a journalist and author of the biography "Quiet Renegade: Isabella Rossellini." She is the sister of actress Sean Young and daughter of TV news producer Don Young Jr.

"I consider it both a joy and a privilege to champion the best work of the best writers in Hollywood," Young said. "Hollywood is a star-driven town, but Humanitas passionately believes the real star is the writer."

Humanitas Prize was founded in 1974 by Father Ellwood "Bud" Kieser, a parish priest and TV producer who sought to encourage Hollywood writers to tackle weightier issues with moral depth in their work. The award was launched with a $300,000 grant from Lilly Endowment and was augmented with a $1 million donation from major TV station group owners of the era, including Capital Cities Broadcasting, Metromedia and Group W.
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