The 46th edition of the MDA Telethon, which will be held in Las Vegas on September 4, is the first show in the entire telethon history without Jerry Lewis’ hosting.
According to organizers, this fall MDA Labor Day Telethon will air in every time zone from 6 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, September 4, broadcasting from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.
Jerry Lewis, 85, has been MDA’s national chairman since the early 1950s and has hosted the MDA Labor Day Telethon since 1966.
Last May, Jerry Lewis made the announcement that he was retiring as host of the telethon, but added that he would make a final appearance on 2011 show and planned on continuing to serve as Muscular Dystrophy Association’s national chairman.
At the beginning of August, came the surprising news that Jerry Lewis was no longer the MDA’s national chairman and would not take part in 2011 MDA Telethon.
At that time, R. Rodney Howell, MDA Chairman of the Board said in a statement that Lewis “will not be appearing on the telethon” and “we will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman.”
Rodney Howell added that Lewis “is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA.”
Though the organizers have not announced a replacement for Jerry Lewis, they promise a full of entertainment program for the 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon show, as it was posted on association’s website:
“The 46th annual MDA Labor Day Telethon is getting ready to squeeze 21½ hours of entertainment, awareness-building and fundraising into six prime-time hours on Sunday night, Sept. 4.
The shorter show, which is expected to draw more viewers in its prime-time slot, will be fast-paced and jam-packed with top-notch entertainment.
In addition to the shorter national broadcast, each hour of the local Telethon will feature two local segments of seven and eight minutes each.
Top talent and tweets
The prime-time slot already is attracting new talent, such as country music superstars Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum and Martina McBride.
In addition, talented co-hosts Nancy O’Dell, Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl and Alison Sweeney will keep things hopping, joined by MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali, 12.
MDA’s social media will add a new dimension to the show with “tweets” and online posts from behind the scenes.
Watch for spontaneous video interviews with Telethon families and celebrities, and follow all the backstage Telethon action on MDA’s Facebook page and Twitter account. These extras will be posted on the MDA website.
Four remarkable young people living with neuromuscular disease will be the subjects of video profiles.
MDA’s own version of “American Idol” — Clear Channel’s Get Discovered! contest — again will highlight new musical talent.
New prime-time schedule
Approximately 160 “Love Network” stations will carry the show from coast to coast, and it will be seen around the world via mda.org.
In the 46 years since it began, MDA’s signature event has meant help and hope for those affected by neuromuscular disease — and that’s one thing that will never change.”
The MDA Telethon is an American television institution and is seen each Labor Day weekend by more than 40 million viewers, having an audience comparable to that of the Academy Awards and greater than that of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, the Emmys and the Golden Globes, according to MDA website.