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A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docu-Series “Born This Way”

A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docu-Series “Born This Way”

Washington, Nov. 11 – Stigmas matter —  and that they are hard to break. This week the horrible news broke that hate crimes against people with disabilities are up 41 percent in one country alone. Thus, I am delighted to share this press release below about a great new stigma-busting show about people with developmental disabilities. Earlier the creator of this show, Jonathan Murray, won an Emmy for his outstanding documentary, Autism: The Musical. He also created our first-ever public service ad, #RespectTheAbility, which starred T.J. Lavin from his MTV show THE CHALLENGE. We’ve been involved in the creation of this new show, and are very proud of the results. It is so honest and fun!

Can you please share this with all who care? I know they will love it too.

Thanks in advance!

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
President, RespectabilityUSA.org


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Megan Tantillo
(310) 556-7542,
 [email protected]

A&E NETWORK TO PREMIERE NEW ORIGINAL DOCU-SERIES ‘BORN THIS WAY’ TUESDAY, DECEMBER 8 AT 10:00 PM ET/PT

SERIES OFFERS AN INTIMATE LOOK INTO THE LIVES OF YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN BORN WITH DOWN SYNDROME

A&E PARTNERING WITH BEST BUDDIES INTERNATIONAL TO RAISE AWARENESS AND ENCOURAGE OPPORTUNITES FOR PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

NEW YORK, NY – November 11, 2015 – A&E Network will premiere the new original docu-series “Born This Way,” following a group of seven young adults born with Down syndrome along with their family and friends in Southern California. The six-episode, hour-long series from Bunim-Murray Productions premieres Tuesday, December 8 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Cameras follow the young men and women of “Born This Way,” as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations. In their willingness and courage to openly share their lives, through a lens that is not often shown on television, we learn they have high hopes just like anyone else. The series also gives voice to the parents, allowing them to talk about the joy their son or daughter brings to their family, and the challenges they face in helping them live as independently as possible.

“We are proud to be airing this important and extraordinary series and hope it will inspire meaningful conversations about people with differences,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP & Head of Programming A&E Network.  “‘Born This Way’ is a show with honesty, humor and heart that celebrates and embraces diversity.”

“There is a freshness and honesty in the way these young adults lead their lives; something we could all learn from them. We are enormously thankful to them and their families for participating in this project,” said Jonathan Murray, Executive Producer.

“I’m so incredibly proud to see ‘Born This Way’ highlight the outgoing personalities and amazing abilities of Best Buddies participants like Rachel Osterbach and Sean Mcelwee,” said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International. “It is my hope that this show will demonstrate to society that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are just like everyone else and should be fully included in our communities, our workplaces and our lives.”

A&E has partnered with celebrated global non-profit organization Best Buddies International and committed to an on-air PSA featuring Anthony K. Shriver and Best Buddies program participants in support of promoting opportunities and increasing awareness for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The cast of “Born This Way” includes:

  • Rachel – Working in the mailroom for an insurance company, she will be the maid of honor at her brother’s upcoming wedding.  Rachel would love to get married herself, but first she has to find the right guy.
  • Sean – An excellent golfer and avid sportsman, Sean is a self-professed ladies’ man, who is not shy about introducing himself to every eligible woman he meets.
  • John – From a very young age, John made it clear to his parents that he craved the spotlight.  A born entertainer, John is committed to his music and is pursuing a career in rap.
  • Steven – Working as a dishwasher at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and in customer service at a local grocery store, Steven is a huge movie buff and knows the title and year of each Oscar winning film.
  • Christina – This loving and compassionate young adult works in a middle school. In her free time she loves talking on the phone with Angel, her boyfriend of 4 years and the man she plans to marry.
  • Megan – A budding entrepreneur, Megan has created a line of clothing she sells under the brand “Megology.”  She is pursuing her dream of becoming a film producer and is a proud advocate committed to spreading the word that society should not limit adults with disabilities.
  • Elena – With a flair for the dramatic, this young woman embraces life.  Elena loves to cook, dance and write poetry and takes a great pride in her independence.

 

According to the U.S. Census, one-in-five Americans have a disability. Currently 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities are not working – even though most of them want jobs and independence. The numbers are even worse for people with Down syndrome. While there are many studies that show that people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, can work successfully and live relatively independently.

“Born This Way” is produced by Bunim-Murray Productions (“I Am Cait,” “The Real World”). Executive producers for Bunim-Murray are Jon Murray, Gil Goldschein, Laura Korkoian and Barry Hennessey.  Executive producers for A&E Network are Drew Tappon and Elaine Frontain Bryant.

About A&E Network

Now reaching more than 96 million homes, A&E is the home to quality original content that inspires and challenges audiences to BE ORIGINAL.  A&E offers a diverse mix of uniquely immersive entertainment ranging from the network’s original scripted series, including “Bates Motel” and “Damien” to signature non-fiction franchises, including “Duck Dynasty,” “Wahlburgers” and “Storage Wars.”  The A&E website is located at aetv.com.  Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aetv and Facebook at facebook.com/AETV.  For more press information and photography please visit us at press.aenetworks.com.

About Bunim/Murray Productions

Bunim/Murray Productions is the leading producer of innovative entertainment content.  The Emmy Award-winning company is widely credited with creating the reality television genre with its hit series The Real World (30 seasons on MTV).  BMP continued to innovate with the first reality game show, Road Rules (MTV), in 1995; the first reality sitcom, The Simple Life (E!), in 2003; and the first reality soap opera, Starting Over (NBC), in 2003.  Bunim-Murray’s current programming also includes I Am Cait, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Dash Dolls, and Total Divas (E!), Real World and The Challenge (MTV), Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime), Fix My Mom and Bad Girls Club (Oxygen), and Valerie’s Home Cooking (Food Network).  Bunim/Murray Productions has also produced films, including Valentine Road (HBO), Pedro(MTV) and the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical (HBO). Bunim/Murray Productions has launched additional entities including BMP Films, BMP Digital and BMP Latin. Based in Van Nuys, CA, Bunim/Murray Productions was founded in 1987 by Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim, who were inducted into the Television Academy of Arts & Science’s Hall of Fame in 2012. The company joined Banijay Group in 2010.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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