Proud Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen is among the celebrities who are taking to the airwaves Friday for a live telethon to help victims of the deadly hurricane that tore through the East Coast this week.
NBCUniversal (Nasdaq: CMCSA) will broadcast “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” on all of its networks, which include NBC, Bravo, USA, NBCU, E!, CNBC, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and G4. The telethon will air live from NBC’s 30 Rock on Friday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will also be live-streamed on NBC.com.
Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s “Today” show, will host the event. Along with Springsteen, other scheduled musical guests include fellow Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi, as well as Christina Aguilera, Billy Joel and Sting. Comedians and other celebrities slated to appear include Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Bacon, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini, Al Roker and Jon Stewart.
NBCUniversal isn’t the only big-media company that has announced plans to pitch in for Sandy victims. News Corp. (NYSE: NWSA) announced late Wednesday that it will donate $1 million to Sandy victims, half of which will go to New York and the other half, New Jersey. In a statement, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said, “I sincerely hope many other companies will also be able to provide assistance to families and communities in need of help.”
Apparently, other companies listened. On Thursday, Viacom (Nasdaq: VIAB) said it will also donate $1 million to relief efforts. The company will split the money between the Mayor’s Fund for NYC and local organizations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island and Westchester County. Viacom’s MTV, of course, owes much to the success of “Jersey Shore,” which is set in the storm-ravaged town of Seaside Heights.
Not to be outdone, the Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) said it will donate $2 million to relief efforts. The company, which owns ABC, also said it will dedicate much of its Monday programming to a “Day of Giving” on many of its broadcast TV shows, including “Good Morning America,” “Live With Kelly and Michael,” “The View,” “Katie” and others.
On Friday, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) followed suit, announcing that it, too, will donate $1 million to relief efforts, adding that it will also match employees’ donations to the cause. The company also said that its HBO cable network will air NBC’s telethon.
Time Warner’s announcement makes five out of the “big six” media companies that have announced efforts to pitch in for hurricane relief. (Hello, CBS?)
The death toll from Hurricane Sandy has risen to 98, and some 3.8 million Americans still remain without power, the majority in New York and New Jersey. The economic impact from the storm is estimated to be more than $50 billion, making it one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.
Back in 2005, NBCUniversal organized a similar benefit event following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina. It was during that broadcast when Kanye West famously quipped, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
Performers, start writing your Romney/FEMA jokes now.
All viewer donations to “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” will go toward hurricane relief efforts for the American Red Cross.