SAG to Honor Finest Performances of 2008 at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®

Simulcast Live Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on TNT and TBS

James Earl Jones to Receive Screen Actor’s Guild’s Life Achievement Award

     Los Angeles, California - The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), 7 p.m. (CT) and 6 p.m. (MT) from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. SAG will honor outstanding performances from 2008 in five film categories and eight television categories, including the distinctive ensemble awards. The presentation marks TNT’s 12th telecast of this prestigious industry event and the fourth consecutive simulcast on TBS.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony is one of the awards season’s premier events. The SAG Awards’ red carpet and showroom fill with a who’s who of the entertainment industry as the casts of the year’s best-acted films and television series come together with industry leaders to meet, mingle and cheer their colleagues. It’s an evening of spirited camaraderie, glamorous fashion, warm reunions, spontaneous laughter and shared respect, as the world’s finest actors gather to honor their own in an intimate dinner-party atmosphere. It’s an awards ceremony like no other. From the signature opening “Actors’ Stories” to acceptance speeches in which Actor® recipients speak from the heart to their peers, the SAG Awards puts its focus squarely on the actors. The Screen Actors Guild Awards are closely watched by the industry as a precursor of possible Oscar® and Emmy® recognition and by viewers as an emotional, memorable night of live television.

A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of Screen Actors Guild’s 45th Life Achievement Award to James Earl Jones. The accolade celebrates career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Recent recipients include Charles Durning, Julie Andrews, Shirley Temple Black, James Garner, Karl Malden, Clint Eastwood, Edward Asner, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Sidney Poitier, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Angela Lansbury, Robert Redford and George Burns.

The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will continue the SAG Awards tradition of saluting the Guild’s membership. Last year the SAG Awards commemorated the founding of the Guild on June 30, 1933. In past years, the awards show has spotlighted stunt performers, commercial actors, child actors, character actors, background singers, dancers, background performers, and live action and animation voice-over performers.

The SAG Awards’ focus on actors inspires the ceremony’s production design and décor. At center stage, floating against a twinkling background, a gold-framed silver screen showcases the nominated performances and tributes to the SAG membership that are at the heart of the event. A luminous sunburst radiates out from the screen to encompass the entire stage, which is punctuated by art deco references harkening back to the Guild’s founding years. The crystal chandlers that accent the stage lighting are echoed in overhead fixtures throughout the showroom.

The simulcast of last year’s 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards™ scored the ceremony’s best performance among adults 18-34, adults 18-49, viewers and households since coming to cable in 1998.

Of the top industry honors presented to performers, only the Screen Actors Guild Awards are conferred solely by actors’ peers. The SAG Awards was the first televised awards show to acknowledge the work of union members and the first to present ensemble and cast awards. The SAG Awards nominees are chosen by separate film and television nominating committees, each consisting of 2,100 SAG members from around the country, randomly selected a new each year. Nominations for the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be announced Thursday, Dec. 18, and carried live on TNT, tnt.tv and tbs.com.

All active members of SAG will receive ballots beginning Dec. 26 to vote to determine who will receive the coveted bronze Actor® statuettes on Jan. 25.

PEOPLE magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) will host the Screen Actors Guild Post-Awards Gala for the 13th consecutive year.  This exclusive event honors the philanthropic causes and good works of the members of the Screen Actors Guild.  The gala, benefiting the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, will immediately follow the SAG Awards on the backlot of the Shrine Exposition Center.

The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be produced by Jeff Margolis Productions in association with Screen Actors Guild Awards®, LLC. Jeff Margolis is the executive producer and Kathy Connell is the producer. Yale Summers, Daryl Anderson, Shelley Fabares, Paul Napier and JoBeth Williams are producers for SAG. Gloria Fujita O’Brien and Mick McCullough are supervising producers. Benn Fleishman is executive in charge of production.

Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 120,000 actors who work in film, television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and all other new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. More information is available online at www.sag.org.

TBS, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is television's top-rated comedy network.  It serves as home to such original comedy series as "My Boys," "The Bill Engvall Show," "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," "10 Items or Less" and "Frank TV"; hot contemporary comedies like "The Office," "My Name is Earl," "Sex and the City," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Family Guy," "King of Queens," "Seinfeld" and "Friends"; specials like "Funniest Commercials of the Year"; special events, such as "The Comedy Festival" in Las Vegas and "Just For Laughs: A Very Funny Festival" in Chicago; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.  TBS is available in high-definition.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television's destination for drama and one of cable's top-rated networks, offers original movies and series, including the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama "The Closer," starring Kyra Sedgwick; "Saving Grace," starring Holly Hunter; "Raising the Bar," starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben and Jane Kaczmarek; "Leverage," starring Timothy Hutton; and "Trust Me," starring Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as "Bones," "Cold Case," "Law & Order," "Without a Trace," "ER" and "Charmed"; broadcast premiere movies; compelling primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA.  TNT is available in high-definition.

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