Major TV Networks Plan Cancer Benefit
Article date: May 28, 2008
The 3 major television networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—will join forces this fall to raise funds for cancer research. On Friday, September 5, 2008, instead of airing usual prime-time fare, all 3 plan to simultaneously broadcast an hour-long, commercial-free telethon benefitting cancer research.
The program is "designed to put cancer research and cancer back on the front burner, in the front of people's minds," said ABC's Charles Gibson Wednesday during a Today Show segment in which he, along with Katie Couric from CBS Evening News and Brian Williams of NBC, announced the event.
The benefit, known as Stand Up to Cancer, is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a charitable organization comprised of entertainment and media executives and performers. The benefit began as the brainchild of Couric and Jeff Zucker, the president and chief executive of NBC. Zucker, himself a colon cancer survivor, said in an interview that this was an idea he and Couric discussed before she left NBC to anchor CBS Evening News. It is being produced by Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin, whose credits include the Spider-man series, As Good as It Gets, and Pretty Woman. Ziskin, a breast cancer survivor, was drawn to the project because of her own struggles with disease.
The funds raised from the telethon will be distributed by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and will go to maverick research teams who are working to develop new cancer treatments. Most of the dollars will go to fund "dream teams" who are working to come up with new therapies or are focused on a specific type of cancer. A smaller percentage will be given to fund cutting-edge research.
"Our medical experts have come up with a system designed to hit potential stumbling blocks head on," said Couric in a video on the Stand Up to Cancer Web site that explains the genesis of the project. "The most talented investigators at many leading institutions will collaborate rather than compete. Innovative ideas will receive rapid funding without bureaucratic delays."
The big 3 television networks have joined forces before.
"This happened on 9/11, this happened after the Banda Aceh tsunami, this happened after Katrina..the three networks coming together for a cause," said Williams. This time, "this is kind of a quiet emergency that's hitting every American family."
The broadcast will feature live entertainment as well as educational segments and will be tied to a Web site called Stand Up to Cancer.
Several cancer advocacy and support organizations, including the American Cancer Society, are backing the project. View a complete list here.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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