TUCSON – The Muscular Dystrophy Association today announced that plans for its 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon are almost complete, and the 21½-hour live show is going to be spectacular.
From live remotes to amazing dance and production numbers, to sensational music performances (e.g., David Archuleta, Enrique Iglesias, Lynyrd Skynryd, WAR, John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, OneRepublic, and Barry Manilow, etc.), to side-splitting comedy and dramatic appeals by some of America’s most popular entertainers, the two-day television event is certain to delight viewers Labor Day weekend.
“Yes, the Telethon is consistently big on entertainment value,” said Gerald C. Weinberg, MDA president & CEO and Telethon executive producer. “But, unlike other live shows, our unique television program is an outstanding catalyst for the public support needed to advance MDA’s lifesaving mission year-round.”
Legendary entertainer and MDA National Chairman Jerry Lewis will be headlining the star-studded television program that’s expected to be watched by some 40 million Americans, thanks to the “Love Network” of more than 170 television and cable stations broadcasting the show Sept. 5 and 6. Millions more worldwide will see the show live via the Internet at www.mda.org, courtesy of RealNetworks.
Lewis will be assisted by a cadre of extraordinary Telethon co-hosts including Alison Sweeney (host of NBC’s “Biggest Loser” and “Days of our Lives” star); Nancy O’Dell, Emmy-winning entertainment personality, author and entrepreneur; independent producer, and Emmy-winning entertainment journalist Jann Carl.
The show will benefit from special guest co-hosts, too. Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer of “American Idol” and co-creator, executive producer, and judge for “So You Think You Can Dance”); dramatic actor and comedian Richard Belzer (“Law & Order”); Ace Young, Grammy-nominated songwriter and star of Broadway; actor Brandon Barash (“General Hospital” star); award-winning recording artist Billy Gilman; and actor/comedian John Pinette all will lend their talents to the show that brings so much help and hope to more than 1 million Americans living with neuromuscular diseases.
“There’s nothing like our Telethon,” said Lee Miller, longtime Telethon producer. “Every hour offers moments you’ll remember for the whole year. We produce the equivalent of an entire television season in one weekend, and you simply can’t find a better live television show that marries an outstanding network feed with lively local television segments.”
DANCE & PRODUCTION NUMBERS
With an extraordinary show opening being choreographed by Tyce Diorio, the Emmy winning choreographer and guest judge for “So You Think You Can Dance,” the Telethon will immediately grab dance and production fans. Then, as the one-of-a-kind variety show unfolds, the Telethon will keep delighting viewers with numbers from Broadway’s “Memphis,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Million Dollar Quartet.”
These incredible Broadway moments will be reinforced by equally outstanding numbers from Las Vegas show favorites “Viva Elvis by Cirque du Soleil,” “Paris by Night,” and “Vegas! The Show.”
The Telethon will present an eclectic group of top bluegrass and jazz bands, gospel groups, virtuoso violinists, country, rock and popular music artists.
Thanks to the “Get Discovered!” national competition orchestrated by Iheartradio.com and more than 845 Clear Channel radio stations, four new artists will each play two songs live on network television.
The Telethon also will showcase live performances by music icons including Tony Orlando (who’s also hosting the New York City telecast of the Telethon), Taylor Dayne, Maureen McGovern, Charo and Jack Jones.
Laughs will be abundant throughout the show. Las Vegas headliners Carrot Top, Terry Fator and George Wallace are returning to join funny men John Pinette, Bob Zany, Jeff Trachta, and comedic legends Norm Crosby and Charlie Callas.
The Telethon will feature cast members from the television hits “GLEE” and “The Doctors”; Ray Romano; Don Francisco (“Sábado Gigante”); Patrick Duffy; Ken Howard; Lou Ferrigno; and Olympic Gold medalists Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci.
TUNE IN THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND
The 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon starts, Sunday, Sept. 5 at 9 p.m. EDT. Originating live from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, the show concludes Labor Day, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Check listings for local start and end times, or visit mda.org.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association, which is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association (“for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity”), also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.