BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- CBS led the field when the Family Friendly Programming Forum, a group of more than 40 national advertisers that promotes family TV viewing, presented its 4th Annual Family Television Awards in Beverly Hills.
The network took top honors for best TV movie for "The Rosa Parks Story." Angela Bassett starred as Parks, a black woman who became a civil rights icon for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white rider in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.
The CBS drama "The Guardian" won for best new series and its star, Simon Baker, was named best actor. Baker plays a hot-shot lawyer who is ordered to perform 1,500 hours of community service after a drug bust. In the bargain, he becomes a child advocate at Legal Aid Services -- where he sees first-hand how difficult life can be for kids in troubled families.
The PBS series "American Family" -- starring Edward James Olmos, Sonia Braga and Raquel Welch -- won for outstanding special series. ABC's "Dinotopia" won for best animated special, while another ABC show, "My Wife and Kids," was named best comedy.
"7th Heaven," the WB series about a traditional, conservative family headed by a local minister, was named best drama. Alexis Bledel won for best actress, for her performance as Lorelai "Rory" Leigh Gilmore on The WB's "Gilmore Girls."
Family Forum founder and co-chair Andrea Alstrup -- who is also a vice president at Johnson & Johnson -- said she hoped the awards will help promote more "family-friendly" shows on TV.
"The shows honored tonight ... have our greatest respect and support," said Alstrup. "As advertisers, we want to see more of this kind of excellent family entertainment on television."
Forum officials said the organization's script development arm has generated three new series that are on this fall's primetime schedule.
"Family Affair" -- a half-hour comedy on The WB -- stars Gary Cole ("The Brady Bunch") and Tim Curry ("Charlie's Angels," "Muppet Treasure Island"). It's a remake of the Brian Keith-Sebastian Cabot series of the same name that ran on CBS from 1966-71, about a bachelor (Cole) who raises three children with the help of his British butler (Curry).
NBC picked up "American Dreams," an hourlong drama starring Tom Verica ("Providence") and Gail O'Grady ("NYPD Blue") in the story of a 1960's American family coping with the turbulent social changes brought on by rock 'n' roll, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the sexual revolution. It's set against the backdrop of Dick Clark's legendary TV music and dance show "American Bandstand."
On ABC, John Ritter ("Three's Company," "Sling Blade") and Katey Sagal ("Married ... With Children") star in "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teen Age Daughter" -- a half-hour comedy based on Bruce Cameron's best-selling book about the challenge of raising two teen-age daughters.
The Family Friendly Programming Forum was formed to promote family-friendly programming on the TV networks. Its membership includes American Airlines, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, General Mills, Inc., General Motors Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, McDonald's, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart.
The ceremonies, hosted by "Hollywood Squares" emcee Tom Bergeron, were taped Wednesday night for telecast over ABC on Aug. 9.