FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Caren Browning/Rebecca Freed
The Morris + King Company
New York, NY – July 15, 2008 – Beliefnet.com, the leading online community for faith and spirituality, announced today that Martha Williamson, the visionary Executive Producer and Head Writer for the groundbreaking television series “Touched By An Angel,” has stepped out from behind the camera to host a new video web site called “A Touch of Encouragement,” available on Beliefnet.com. A beta version of the Web site, in preview for Beliefnet’s community and “Touched by an Angel” fans, has quickly become the leading online video destination at Beliefnet. The site officially premieres today at: http://www.atouchofencouragement.com.
"A Touch of Encouragement" videos feature Martha’s signature storytelling in a personal and refreshingly candid style, covering a wide range of inspirational topics. She addresses themes such as families and relationships; love and romance; grief and loss; newsmakers and the kindness of strangers, all from a down-to-earth—sometimes humorous, always uplifting—point of view. New video segments are added every Tuesday and Friday, and viewers are given the opportunity to post their comments. The site also features Martha's “Backstage Stories from Touched by an Angel,” including excerpts from favorite episodes.
“When Beliefnet launched in 1999, “Touched By An Angel” was one of the most successful shows on TV, and had a weekly audience of 24 million. It was revolutionary—a prime time show that spoke of God overtly and depicted angels as agents in our lives. It proved that faith had a place in mainstream entertainment media,” said Steven Waldman, Beliefnet's co-founder, Editor in Chief and President. “Countless television executives and Hollywood studios have tried to get Martha to do it again, and we are incredibly proud that she has chosen to return to the ‘airwaves’ via Beliefnet.”
Williamson's online message is inspired by the same one she delivered weekly as a Top Ten television showrunner: “God exists, loves us and wants to be a part of our lives.” As Williamson states in her welcome video, “I’ve needed a touch of encouragement myself more than a few times, and I’ve always found it in the same place—in my faith and in my belief that there are still good people doing good things. I’m going to do my best to provide one little corner of the Internet to celebrate that.” Williamson added, "Beliefnet is the Internet's leading spiritual destination and I can't think of a better place to share stories and inspiration with old friends or to meet and engage with new friends."
For today’s official Web site launch, more than 50 video segments, ranging from two to four minutes in length, have been produced by FaithCorp West, Inc. In preview screenings, a selection of these initial video messages generated deeply felt responses from both “Touched By an Angel’s” loyal worldwide audience and Beliefnet viewers finding her for the first time.
“Martha: Your greatest quality is your ability to connect one on one......you have the ability to make anyone feel you are talking directly to them.”
Posted by: Chuck – Feeling Left Behind:
“Thank you, Martha, for being a living example that those small moments in life can be used to create an atmosphere of faith around us.”
Posted by Kristine – Vibiana’s Courage video
“Your story touched my heart. I have to say that I'm losing my faith about the world and people, but ... today, listening to your message, a light inside me turned on. Thank you very much.”
Posted by Carol – Welcome Blog video: http://blog.beliefnet.com/MarthaWilliamson/2007/12/welcome.html
Beliefnet is the largest faith-based social network in the world and a top ten family web destination in the United States. A Touch of Encouragement is the latest addition to Beliefnet's varied menu of interactive features which offer inspiration and insightful commentary from a variety of spiritual voices covering a wide range of topics that include politics, parenting, pop-culture, mental health and more.
About Martha Williamson
Ms. Williamson is the first woman to executive produce two prime-time dramas simultaneously. Her Emmy-nominated television drama, "Touched by an Angel" changed the landscape of network television, making the openly spiritual series the first of its kind to be rated among the Top Ten television programs.
A speaker and author, Ms. Williamson is a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry with writing and producing credits for situation comedy, one-hour drama, and variety television. Her numerous awards include The Freedom Works Award from the United States Congress, The Producer's Guild Nova Award, the Edward R. Murrow Responsibility in Television Award, multiple awards from the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, The Excellence in Media Award and The Templeton Award. She was appointed to the President's White House Council on Service and Civic Participation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE