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Sons of Italy® Rallies Grass Roots Support for "First Monday" and "That's Life"

Press Contact: Diane Crespy, 202-547-2900

For Immediate Release:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2002 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's largest and longest existing organization for people of Italian heritage, is urging Italian Americans to contact CBS Entertainment to show their approval of "First Monday" and "That's Life" two nationally televised CBS weekly series that feature Italian-American characters.

"We appreciate all efforts that explore the breadth and depth of our complex national character, while avoiding the all-too-frequent Johnny one-note stereotypes of us as goons or buffoons" said Robert A. Messa, OSIA national president, in a letter to the executive leadership of CBS Entertainment dated Feb. 13. In it, Messa also praised the performance of Joe Mantegna, who portrays U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joe Novelli, a character of integrity and gravitas.

"We are America's fifth largest ethnic minority, according to the Census Bureau, and a remarkably diverse one, as well" Messa said. "This nation's estimated 24 million Americans of Italian descent have waited a long time for programs like "First Monday" and the equally commendable "That's Life".

While "First Monday" appears to be on solid ground, the future of "That's Life" is less certain. The series features a working class Italian-American family in New Jersey, its values, close family and neighborhood ties, work ethic and strong Italian-American traditions. It stars Paul Sorvino, Ellen Burstyn, and a cast of talented young actors.

OSIA is urging its vast network of 575,000 members and supporters in all 50 states to write, telephone, and e-mail CBS to show their appreciation for both series. Contact Mr. Leslie Moonves, president & CEO of CBS Entertainment, 7800 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Telephone: 323/575-2200 E-mail:

Established in 1905 in Littly Italy, N.Y., OSIA now boasts more than 700 chapter in 35 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 575,000 members and supporters in all 50 states and two U.S. territories. For more information on OSIA or any of its programs to promote positive images of Italian-Americans, visit us on the Web at or contact us via e-mail at