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March 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced on Monday that it plans to pay tribute to eight programs at its fourth annual Television Academy Honors on May 5. The programs, it said, represent television “with a conscience.” In a statement, it observed that they “explore such vital issues as sexual abuse and assault, racism, mental health and trauma, teen pregnancy, autism, living with a life-threatening disease and good nutrition in the fight against childhood obesity.” Among the shows is the season-one finale of Showtime’s The Big C, starring Laura Linney, which chronicles a woman’s efforts to cope with her work and family life after she is diagnosed with cancer; an episode of NBC/DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights dealing with unwanted pregnancy; an Oprah Winfrey episode about male sexual abuse; and an HBO documentary describing the effects of post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families. Conspicuously absent was any program dealing with issues that could be considered politically controversial.