MDA Show of Strength Telethon Moves to ABC

The two-hour MDA Show of Strength Telethon will air on ABC stations across the nation in prime time on Sunday, Sept. 1

Article Highlights:
  • The 2013 MDA Show of Strength Telethon will be broadcast exclusively on the ABC Television Network, airing Sunday, Sept. 1 at 9 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, and 8 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones.
  • The larger ABC stage will increase the telethon’s viewing audience, maximizing MDA’s ability to spread the word about the fight against muscle disease.
  • As always, the show will feature top performers and celebrity appearances, but the real stars of the show will be several remarkable individuals whose “stories of strength” will raise public awareness of the effects of muscle disease and the unprecedented scientific and medical advances currently being made against these diseases.
by Quest Staff on July 1, 2013 - 9:03am

Quest Vol. 20, No. 3
Multiple Grammy-winning artist will.i.am with singer/songwriter Eva Simons and MDA Goodwill Ambassador Lucas Cook opened the 2012 MDA broadcast.

MDA is excited to announce that the MDA Show of Strength Telethon has entered into an exclusive partnership with the ABC Television Network to broadcast the annual Labor Day weekend show.

The two-hour, prime-time telethon will be shown on ABC affiliates nationwide on Sunday, Sept. 1, beginning at 9 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones, and 8 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones.

"We’re delighted to partner with ABC,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “Broadcasting our show nationwide and on prime-time TV provides a critically important way to tell our story of progress in fighting muscle disease, while recognizing and engaging new supporters.”

Why the change to one network?

For the past 46 years, the MDA telethon has been a Labor Day weekend tradition. But as viewers know, the show has been evolving in length and format in recent years to adapt to changes in viewer habits and the television broadcasting industry.

It was a “logical step” to partner with a single national television network, said Kevin Moran, MDA executive vice president and chief business development officer. The ABC Television Network was a natural fit because the majority of stations in MDA’s previous telethon network were ABC affiliates.

Being on ABC ensures that the telethon will have a larger viewing audience — at least twice as many viewers as in recent years due to ABC’s wider reach — whichin turn will maximize fundraising efforts in support of MDA’s programs of research and support.

Watch for MDA Show of Strength Telethon promotions on ABC beginning in August, and visit mda.org for up-to-the-minute information.

What can we expect from the show?

The bigger ABC stage also will attract bigger celebrities — high-caliber performances and celebrity appearances that will make the show an entertainment event not to be missed.

But — as always — the real stars of the show will be the families MDA serves. The telethon will introduce the general public to several remarkable individuals whose “stories of strength” will raise public awareness of the effects of neuromuscular disease and the unprecedented scientific and medical advances currently being made against these diseases.

What else is changing?

The change in broadcast time to two hours and MDA’s desire to tell its story of hope the same way across the country means that, for the first time, the telethon will not have local cutaways with station affiliates.

Instead, families, volunteers, sponsors and other friends will have the opportunity to gather several days in advance at local telethon premiere “watch parties” to enjoy the show together. These events are designed to honor and celebrate our families and sponsors, and to recognize the important work being done to fight muscle disease in communities around the country.

There also will be opportunities for those interested in volunteering for the telethon to engage through new digital and social media campaigns. Check mda.org for details. 

Contact your local MDA offices about watch party details and volunteer opportunities in your area beginning Aug. 1.

“Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and the public, we’ve gotten to this exciting point in research history,” Moran said.

“With ABC as the new host of our telethon — and with the support of caring individuals and organizations — we’re not stopping until we’ve fulfilled our mission to find treatments and cures for the people we serve.”

MDA pioneered the telethon fundraising concept almost 50 years ago. Be sure to visit MDA's website to learn more about the rich history of MDA’s Labor Day weekend event.

To re-live special moments from the 2012 MDA broadcast, visit the Show of Strength website to see videos of individual “stories of strength,” celebrity photos and behind-the-scenes extras.

Keep checking MDA's website for late-breaking details about the 2013 MDA Show of Strength Telethon!

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