TUCSON, Ariz. - The Muscular Dystrophy Association today announced an outstanding and diverse talent roster is being finalized for its 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon, with still more top acts expected to confirm their performances between now and the show’s prime-time broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 4.
Entertainment icons making a special appearance on the MDA Labor Day Telethon include: Céline Dion, Lady Antebellum, Jennifer Lopez, Darius Rucker, Martina McBride, Steven Tyler, Jon Secada, Randy Jackson, Richie Sambora and Jimmy Webb. Also appearing will be Michael Feinstein, Maureen McGovern, "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, Ellen DeGeneres protégé Greyson Chance, plus the intergalactic music phenomenon Voca People.
“Songs and appeals by these outstanding artists, as well as extraordinary Penn & Teller magic and so much more, undoubtedly will captivate tens of millions of viewers,” said longtime Telethon Producer Lee Miller. “Then, when America sees and hears from remarkable families served by MDA, people once again will find it near impossible to not respond generously.”
Joining these music artists in encouraging even greater public support to help MDA speed treatments and cures for progressive muscle diseases are: JabbaWockeeZ, winners of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew"; "The View's" Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck; plus NFL legend Kurt Warner and NBA great Dwight Howard.
The original reality television show, getting its start in 1966, the MDA Labor Day Telethon also will feature three national winners of the ultimate music talent show – the second annual iHeartRadio.com “Get Discovered!” competition that this summer attracted more than 4,000 entrants and was judged first by Internet response popularity and now by a distinguished group of radio industry leaders.
MDA 2011 national Telethon co-hosts are Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer of "American Idol" and judge/executive producer of "So You Think You Can Dance"); Nancy O’Dell ("Entertainment Tonight" anchor); Alison Sweeney (host of NBC’s"The Biggest Loser" and author of The Mommy Diet); and Jann Carl (Emmy-winning journalist and executive producer of "Sold! — Ozark Auction" on the History Channel).
“Thanks to generous public support and the truly unrivaled year-round involvement of thousands of local, regional and national sponsors,” underscored MDA President & CEO Gerald C. Weinberg, “MDA-funded research is making rapid progress toward treatments and cures. Equally important, our 200 hospital-affiliated clinic network has already achieved significant quality of life and longevity gains for people living with progressive muscle diseases.”
MDA sponsors appearing on the 2011 Telethon to thank their employees, members and/or customers for helping advance MDA’s lifesaving mission include: A&P, Acosta Sales & Marketing, Augie’s Quest, Bally Total Fitness, The National Beta Club, Burger King, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Clear Channel Radio, ClubCorp, DECA, ERA Franchise Systems LLC, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Jiffy Lube, Kappa Alpha Order, Lowe’s Home Improvement, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Coalition of Association of 7-Eleven Franchisees, Safeway, Seven Up, SuperValu, Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America, Universal Cheerleaders Association, Valero Energy Corporation and Walgreens.
Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and Broadway star Ace Young will host the Telethon’s New York City telecast. Olympic Gold medalists Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci will reprise their roles as the Telethon’s Chicago telecast co-hosts.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. See the award-winning MDA “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” PSA, as well as MDA VNR announcing Monday’s launch of a 24-week phase 2 clinical trial of a potential therapeutic for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
In addition to funding more than 300 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics; orchestrates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and facilitates extraordinary local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases. Known globally for the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Association is the first nonprofit organization to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity.”