As you may already know, for 45 years our annual Labor Day Telethon was a 21½-hour fundraising spectacular. It’s now time to launch an all-new Telethon era.
This year, the Telethon will be a six-hour show seen in prime time nationwide on Sunday, Sept. 4, broadcast live from 6 p.m. to midnight in the Eastern time zone and from 6 p.m. to midnight via tape delay in all other time zones. Never before have we had six hours of prime time simultaneously nationwide!
Our “Love Network” stations and sponsors are extremely pleased with the new format because it has the potential of delivering a greater audience, resulting in better ratings and raising more funds for MDA than ever before.
Other innovative changes include: Rather than having a single 15- or 20-minute local cutaway in each hour, the local segments will now be two shorter cutaways — one for seven minutes and the other for eight. This will result in bringing about a faster pace for the cutaways which will help to retain our viewership, and improve ratings and income potential.
We’ve reduced the amount of time allocated to our sponsor segments, as well as for profiles and research updates — again, to improve the pacing of the show, retain our audience, improve ratings and increase income potential.
Back on board again are our four Telethon co-hosts — Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”), Nancy O’Dell (“Entertainment Tonight”), Alison Sweeney (“The Biggest Loser” and “Days of Our Lives”), and television producer Jann Carl — as well as our Telethon producer, Lee Miller. They’ll all be helping to bring new energy to the Telethon, assuring it a long life to come.
Talent recruitment for our star-studded show is under way. Already on board are Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and Darius Rucker — and talent recruitment has just begun!
Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler will be featured in exciting “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” PSAs for the show. For more details about this year’s Telethon — including the individuals who’ll be the subjects of video profiles — see Telethon: Short, Snappy, Sensational.
Gerald C. Weinberg
President & CEO