TUCSON, Ariz. - Comic legend Jerry Lewis joins friends and entertainers this Labor Day weekend for his 42nd annual Telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Originating from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, the live show will air for 21 1/2 hours, beginning at 9 p.m. Sept. 2, and will be shown on some 190 "Love Network" stations nationwide. Checkwww.mda.org for stations and start times.
The broadcast raises funds for MDA's programs of research and healthcare services for children and adults affected by one of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases in MDA's program. It's expected to attract some 40 million viewers nationwide and many more worldwide via MDA's Web site,www.mda.org and Real Networks.
As MDA's No. 1 volunteer, Lewis has spent the past year preparing to make the 2007 show the most successful ever.
"I'll never wave the white flag in the fight against muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting diseases," Lewis said. "Not only is the Telethon a chance to help put an end to these debilitating diseases, but it's also a way to inform and educate the public, while having a darn good time."
Lewis will share the stage with MDA Board member Ed McMahon, who will return for his 40th year as Telethon anchor.
Jann Carl of "Entertainment Tonight," Tom Bergeron of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Dancing with the Stars," Alison Sweeney of "Days of Our Lives" and "The Biggest Loser" and comedians Norm Crosby and Bob Zany will serve as co-hosts. (Carl, Crosby and Bergeron are MDA national vice presidents.) Award-winning recording artist and MDA National Youth Chairman Billy Gilman will perform and host special youth segments.
Telethon entertainment will include singers, dancers, comedians, bands and novelty acts sure to appeal to diverse interests and generations.
Several remote performances will be aired from New York and Chicago.
Each hour, MD "Love Network" stations will cut away from the national broadcast to present information about local services and families served by the Association. Both national and local segments will feature videotaped profiles and live interviews with individuals and families affected by neuromuscular disease.
During the 2006 MDA Telethon, pledges and donations brought in a record $61 million. Lewis says that, as always, his goal for 2007 is to surpass that total by one dollar.
MDA is a nonprofit voluntary health agency funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.