Networks plan September cancer benefit

Funds will go to research, treatment

NEW YORK -- ABC, CBS and NBC will simultaneously air a live, one-hour telethon Sept. 5 to raise money for cancer research.

"Stand Up to Cancer" will air at 8 p.m. ET and in pattern at 8 p.m. PT for West Coast viewers on each network. The telecast will include performances by musicians as well as actors and the three networks' news anchors, who will provide information about cancer detection and treatment.

The telethon is being put together with the help of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, including several big names in Hollywood. Among them are television producer Noreen Fraser, movie producer Laura Ziskin -- who both are being treated for breast cancer -- as well as Disney Media Network's co-chairwoman Anne Sweeney.

The funds raised will go to organizations that work on research and treatment of cancer, including perhaps 20% that will be earmarked for less traditional approaches.

NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Charles Gibson and CBS' Katie Couric have all committed to appearing. It's a subject that is close to each of their hearts, and Couric's husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998. Both Williams and Gibson also have lost family members to cancer.

At an appearance at the 92nd Street Y in March 2007, Couric brought up the idea of a two-hour telethon to raise money for cancer research. At the time it hadn't gotten beyond the talking stage, but Couric said that it was important to do.

"Cancer funding is being cut, and we really need to display the national political will to invest in research," Couric said at the time.

On Tuesday's "Today," anchor Matt Lauer said that Couric would appear on the show Wednesday for the first time since her departure in May 2006. Couric will appear on "Today," "The Early Show" and "Good Morning America" along with Williams and Gibson.

The event also will be tied to an interactive Web site and PSA campaign. StandUp2Cancer.org was online Tuesday with a link to register for more details as they become available.
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