May 19, 2003

media elite

They might not be reality shows, but they definitely give the real feel of addiction. Fox's The Bernie Mac Show and NBC's ER took honors in the TV category at the recent Prism Awards, which recognize accurate depictions of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction in entertainment. Both series presented multi-episode storylines this past season that featured characters experiencing the effects of substance abuse. On Bernie Mac, teenager Vanessa (Camille Windbrush) began the difficult process of reconciliation with her mother, who is in rehab. On ER, recovering alcoholic Abby Lockhart (Maura Tierney) experienced a relapse, and John Carter (Noah Wyle), a former addict himself, intervened. A panel of some 70 people, half of whom are experts in the field of substance abuse, review the entries to choose the winners for the awards, which are presented in association with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Also honored at this year's event was Tribune Entertainment Co. president Dick Askin, with a special award for his long-term involvement with the Prism Awards and his leadership role in helping broadcast the first several ceremonies.