Cancer fight turns rival nets into allies

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ABC, CBS and NBC will air a live primetime special Sept. 5 to raise money for cancer research in an effort that is uniting entertainment industry power players.

The hourlong "Stand Up to Cancer" will air commercial-free on the three networks, with musical performances and appearances by actors and news anchors. The run-up to the event begins today, part of the multimedia effort that will feature a Web site, StandUp2Cancer.org, and Facebook application. Funds raised will go to organizations that work on research and treatment of cancer, with perhaps 20% to be earmarked for less traditional approaches.

Female executives on both coasts came up with the idea.

Former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing, Entertainment Industry Foundation president and CEO Lisa Paulsen, former ICM executive Ellen Ziffren and "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric began working on the idea of a program that would appear on the networks.

Meanwhile, TV producer Noreen Fraser met by chance with producer Laura Ziskin in a Los Angeles chemotherapy unit as both were undergoing treatment. The two began to talk about a similar project.

They all decided to work together as Stand Up to Cancer. "We have this united front of advocates and the united networks," Lansing said.

Said Ziskin, who will produce the Sept. 5 program, "The scientists tell us we're on the brink, but we need the will." (partialdiff)
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