The year has flown by and, suddenly, it’s almost Telethon time again. Although this year marks the 45th Labor Day weekend broadcast of this television tradition, viewers should know: It’s a brand-new show.
This year, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon has been redesigned in tribute to all the wonderful people who make it happen: the stations that broadcast it, the thousands of volunteers who staff it, the sponsors who support it, the entertainers who make it fun to watch and, of course, all those who generously donate to advance the fight against neuromuscular diseases.
As the showcase for all the magnificent talent that makes MDA possible, the Telethon will boast a new look — an amazing new set and lighting effects — and a new format, in which many of the 21½ hours of the show will have its own theme, such as comedy or country music.
And there’s new talent — really new talent. Global media and entertainment giant Clear Channel Communications is using its 865 radio stations to promote a talent competition for MDA called Get Discovered! Four artists or bands (representing rock, country, pop and a fourth genre of the judges’ choice) will be selected by Clear Channel to appear live on the Telethon. In addition, the disc jockeys from the winners’ local radio stations will be on hand to introduce the acts. Get Discovered! runs from June 15 through July 26; contact your local Clear Channel radio station for more information.
Of course, despite the changes, the Telethon will continue to provide an array of top-notch entertainment, updates on MDA research advances, and interviews with individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases.
National video profiles are now being finalized and several remarkable individuals and families are being highlighted.
Tommy Roberts, 50, is an accomplished artist and art instructor from Baltimore. He has Becker muscular dystrophy. Lauren and Claire Gibbs, 13 and 12, of Roeland Park, Kan., have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Lauren is big into sports, while Claire favors interior design and fashion. They’ll share the spotlight with Joan Palmer, 60, of Kensington, Md., who also has SMA. She works in a Catholic high school bookstore and mentors students. And 8-year-old Zachary Walters of Imperial, Mo., who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), loves art, reading, science and music.
And surely you remember …
Four familiar faces also will be part of the Telethon lineup — former MDA National Goodwill Ambassadors Sarah Schwegel (2001), 17; Ben Cumbo (1996-97), 23; Mike Neufeldt (1987-88), 32; and Ben Teraberry (1985-86), 35. They’ll describe the varied and successful paths their lives have taken since their volunteer service for MDA.
And you have the best seat!
Broadcast live from the beautiful South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, the national Telethon kicks off at 9 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 5. It will be carried across the country by the 180 stations in MDA’s “Love Network,” and around the world via RealNetworks streaming video at www.mda.org.
Telethon 2010: It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s a source of hope — and the best seat in the house is reserved for you!