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The White House recently announced details on the 2010 Easter Egg Roll – an event that will bring 30,000 people from all 50 states and DC to the White House. But you don’t have to be on the South Lawn to enjoy Monday’s festivities – we’ll be livestreaming all day on WhiteHouse.gov. Check back later for the full livestream schedule.

For the full blog, click here.

The annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House promises to be a celeb-heavy event. Held the day after Easter on the South Lawn, the event will feature performances by teeny bopper Justin Bieber and the cast of Glee, as well as readers Reese Witherspoon, J.K. Rowling, Apolo Ohno, Mariska Hargitay, Ellen’s mom Betty DeGeneres and Sesame Street’s Elmo on the Storytime Stage. About 30,000 people are expected to show up for this year’s Roll, which will last all day Monday (from 7:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.) and will feature live streaming of musical performances online here.

Credit: USA Today

Lynn Cohen, best known for her role as Magda on HBO’s Sex and the City, has nabbed a guest spot in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.

Cohen will play the matriarch of an Italian beef company in an episode aptly titled “Beef.” Her appearance is set to air April 21 (10/9c on NBC).

This isn’t the first time a Sex and the City alum will be on SVU. Cynthia Nixon, whose character Miranda employed Magda throughout the duration of the series, won an Emmy for her guest spot in 2008.

Credit: TV Guide

She claims she hasn’t rubbed elbows with too many celebrities but one of her proudest moments was receiving a gift from one of her favorite actresses, Mariska Hargitay, who plays a detective on the television show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” Hargitay, the daughter of late actors Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield, sent Grandma a gift with a note attached to it that said, “God bless you.”
“It was the biggest moment of my life,” said Grandma. “I love Mariska Hargitay.”

Read the full article here.

Without T.V., the world would arguably be a much better place. Having said that, this season of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has helped to keep plenty of couch potatoes on the edge of their sofas and glued to the television – not to mention in horrible shape for the beach.

Consistently voted one of the best shows on T.V., SVU has become better known and has achieved higher ratings than Law and Order, the series from which it was derived.

Starring Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay as detectives Eliot Stabler and Olivia Benson, the show focuses on the division of the NYPD that deals with sexually-based crimes and their victims.

A large factor in SVU’s success is the emphasis placed on its characters and their individual development. While many cop dramas and crime shows focus on intricate stories and plot twists, Special Victims Unit is undoubtedly a character-driven show.

Meloni and Hargitay have some of the best chemistry seen on T.V. today, and while the series never lacks interesting storylines or pertinent social commentary, the interplay between the two detectives and among other members of their unit is possibly the best aspect of the show.

While its two stars and the show itself have all received Emmy gold in the past, SVU has fallen off the radar as of late. After watching this past season, though, the recent lack of recognition is puzzling. Not only has the series kept up its tradition of engaging plotlines and outstanding acting, but it has also employed the use of guest stars to wheel in new viewers.

For example, this season’s episode entitled “P.C.,” about a string of lesbian murders and the political controversy surrounding them, starred Kathy Griffith as an obtrusive and obnoxious lesbian civil rights activist.

As detestable as some may find her, Griffith’s presence on the show added levels of hilarity and, at times, sexual tension that made the already engaging story even more layered.

Indeed, the series is not afraid to tackle controversial issues. In “Savior,” a crazed preacher picks up prostitutes, threatens them with the power of Christ and proceeds to strangle them to death.

It gets better – one of his would-be victims, a pregnant hooker in her early 20s, escapes and develops a close relationship with Olivia.

After a premature birth, the baby is left with serious brain damage and lung complications.

As the baby is abandoned, Olivia is left with power of attorney and the episode closes as she is forced to decide between letting the infant die or having an operation that costs thousands of dollars and may not even succeed.

As one may have realized, each episode of SVU does not end as it begins. While an initial crime may occupy the first half of an episode’s airtime, the story is constantly shifting as criminals and victims unveil a host of information.

Case in point: this season’s “Confidential,” which began with a potential rape caught on an office building’s security tape. As the plot unfolds, though, Olivia and Eliot realize that the owner of the building is not only engaging in accounting fraud and Ponzi schemes – he is also involved in a series of rapes and murders.

After he is promptly shot by a scorned employee, the episode transitions to an investigation of attorney-client privilege and raises both legal and moral questions. As one can see, SVU is deeper and more thought-provoking than one’s average 90210.

So why has the show lost its widespread appeal? Its quality has certainly not diminished. If anything, the acting and writing have only grown more superior. The answer may lie in a tendency for audiences to abandon a show after a few seasons. Americans have notoriously short attention spans, and while SVU’s quality has not diminished, its novelty value may have.

It is definitely true that new TV shows are very promising this upcoming spring and summer. Of particular warrant are The Pacific, a new WWII miniseries produced by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks, and Dancing With the Stars, which – featuring such quality celebrities as Kate Gosselin and Chad Ochocinco – will undoubtedly be hilarious.

Such reasoning, though, would lead audiences to miss out on some of television’s best drama. Meloni, Hargitay, Ice T and Richard Belzer, along with the rest of the SVU cast, never fail to deliver on suspenseful action, harrowing storylines and even moments of hilarity.

So grab a seat, switch on the television and spend some quality time with Liv and El. And let’s be honest. It’s better than the original ever could be.

Credit: The John Hopkins Newsletter

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, season seven, is coming to the screens of SABC3 viewers from Tuesdays to Thursdays and starts on 1 April at 22:15.

From the creator of the longest-running drama series on television, Law & Order, comes a powerful series chronicling the life and crimes of the Special Victims Unit of NYPD. Each episode follows the exploits of detectives Elliot Stabler; Olivia Benson; John Munch; and Odafin Tutuola as they attempt to solve the city’s most complex cases. They diligently follow lead after lead, relentless in their quest for justice and the search for truth.

The cast consists of Chris Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler; Mariska Hargitay as Det. Olivia Benson; Richard Belzer as Sgt. John Munch; Ice-T as Det. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola; Michaela McManus as ADA Kim Grayleck; Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner; B.D. Wong as Dr. George Huang; Dann Florek as Capt. Don Cragen; Stephanie March as ADA Alexandra Cabot; Diane Neal as ADA Casey Novak; Adam Beach as Det. Chester Lake; and Connie Nielsen as Det. Dani Beck.

Credit: Media Update

In the TV world, she plays a tough-minded detective dealing with some of New York City’s seediest kinds of crimes on “Law & Order: SVU,” but in Washington, talking about some of the real world’s most atrocious sexual violence, actress Mariska Hargitay practically chokes up.
“It’s debilitating,” she said, stumbling over her words. “It’s everywhere, it has to stop, and we have to educate, and I’m so proud and honored to be on a show that does just that.”
Hargitay was in town Wednesday talking about the effect television story lines can have on educating the public about an issue. Hollywood, Health & Society, an organization that works to put accurate public health messages in television and movies, sponsored the panel discussion.
“Because it’s television … people are talking about sexual violence in ways they haven’t in the past,” she argued.
The actress was joined by “Law & Order: SVU” producer Neal Baer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation senior program officer Sally Canfield and Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health & Society.

Credit: Washington Examiner

This week, Valerie Neumann, a rape victim who was profiled in a CBS News investigation into the national rape kit backlog, is pounding the halls of Congress asking dozens of lawmakers to support legislation that will require DNA from all rape kits to be tested.

Although semen was found in Valerie’s rape kit, the local prosecutor would not test the DNA to see if it matched the suspect citing cost and his office’s reluctance to prosecute.

“Everyone keeps thanking me for sharing my story and I just want to thank them for listening,” Neumann told CBS News while she waited outside Ohio Democratic Congressman John Boccieri’s office for another meeting, “It’s been a really great experience.”

Neumann is accompanied by her father and by rape kit backlog expert Sarah Tofte of Human Rights Watch whose research has brought the issue national attention. Tofte was also profiled in the CBS investigation.

Tofte and Neumann teamed up after the story aired. The two will also be visiting lawmakers along side television actor Mariska Hargitay from the television show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit who joins them today.

Hargitay is in town meeting at the White House and with members of Congress to urge efforts to reduce the rape kit backlog. The actor started the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

The CBS News investigation in November, 2009 found over 20,000 rape kits nationwide were never sent to crime labs to be tested and thousands more sent to the crime lab languished for years without testing: in Alaska up to three years, in Louisiana up to eight years. In three cases, CBS News found that prosecution of serial rapists were delayed due to backlogs at crime labs.

Just this week the testing of a moldy untested rape kit found in a suburban Chicago police department led to new charges against a man about to be released on parole. Police say the man sexually assaulted a 13-year-old-girl four years ago but prosecution of the case was stalled until the rape kit was tested.

Source: CBS News

WASHINGTON, March 24 /PRNewswire/ — Top celebrities of Law & Order: SVU gathered with key Congressional policymakers tonight on Capitol Hill for a lively discussion about the entertainment industry’s portrayal of global health issues.

Called “Global Health in Lights: Hollywood’s Master Storytellers & Stars Highlight Global Health in Entertainment,” the event was hosted by Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center.

Panelists included actor Mariska Hargitay and Executive Producer Dr. Neal Baer, both of Law & Order: SVU (NBC). They were joined by Representative Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), as well as Sally Canfield, Senior Program Officer from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Serving as honorary co-hosts were Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Law & Order: SVU’s Executive Producer Dr. Neal Baer is a Harvard-trained physician and practicing pediatrician. “At Law & Order: SVU, we incorporate global health topics into our scripts not only because they are important, but also because they are dramatically compelling,” said Baer. “Many Americans may not be familiar with the significant health problems faced by people in the developing world. As storytellers, we also have the unique opportunity to shed light on these critical issues.”

Actress Mariska Hargitay is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and has started a foundation to help them, called Joyful Heart Foundation. They spoke about their commitment to covering HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, and other global problems, and why accurate depictions of global health issues in American primetime TV are critical to saving lives and reducing disease around the world. Hargitay specifically addressed the issues raised in last week’s episode, “Witness,” about rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Sexual violence and the healing journey of survivors are the backbone of my advocacy work,” said Hargitay. “After receiving powerful feedback from women who had seen my character supporting victims of sexual assault on Law & Order: SVU, I founded the Joyful Heart Foundation. We’re dedicated to helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse take the profoundly courageous steps towards reclaiming lives of hope, possibility and joy.”

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Can’t get enough Law & Order even though it’s on every single hour of every day? Mariska Hargitay, of the procedural’s Special Victims Unit series, will be in the District this week to talk about Hollywood’s portrayal of global health issues. Hargitay is joined by the show’s executive producer Neal Baer, as well as representatives of both the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Hollywood, Health & Society (the sponsoring organization).

The group’s focus will be a discussion on how entertainment can play a role in support for global initiatives around developing healthcare. Fishbowl DC has more details on the event, which will be held this Wednesday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Library of Congress in the Mumford Room (6th floor) of the Madison Building.

Credit: We Love DC

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