Larry King to host oil spill telethon

Two-hour special to feature Justin Bieber, Cameron Diaz

Television talk show personality Larry King will host a two-hour, "two-screen" telethon to raise awareness of what people can do to help victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The special, airing on cable TV network CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday night at 8 p.m. EDT, will feature guest stars such as teen pop singer Justin Bieber, movie stars Cameron Diaz and Robert Redford, comedian Kathy Griffin and a special performance by rocker Sting, CNN said in a statement.

The telethon is expected to raise funds for United Way, the National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy, all of which are nonprofit organizations helping people and wildlife hurt by the oil spill along the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Guests on the TV show will talk with King, a veteran interviewer of Hollywood celebrities and world politicians, and sit at telephone banks taking viewer calls and donations.

The "second screen" aspect of King's telethon involves the use of computers, where people can participate via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter by signing into a special "Social Suite" hosted by "American Idol" star Ryan Seacrest.

As the crisis entered its 60th day, the U.S. Coast Guard admiral leading the government relief effort said oil company BP had increased the amount of oil it was siphoning off from its blown-out deep-sea well to 25,000 barrels (1.05 million gallons/3.97 million liters) on Thursday.

It was the highest amount yet collected by BP. On Wednesday this week, it siphoned off 18,600 barrels.

But putting that figure in context, Admiral Thad Allen said 35,000 barrels a day, and possibly as much as 60,000 barrels, were gushing from the well, which ruptured after an April 20 explosion on an offshore oil rig that killed 11 workers.

The spill -- actually hundreds of thousands of small oil patches -- has idled much of the U.S. Gulf Coast's multibillion dollar fishing industry and seeped into ecologically sensitive marshes and wetlands, despite the efforts of an army of workers to keep it at bay with oil-soaking booms.