Last year the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced that Jerry Lewis was stepping down as host of its annual Labor Day telethon, the marathon TV event he had made his personal showcase, soap box and sentimental journey for 45 years.
With the show cut from 21.5 hours to just 6, Jerry Lewis was being replaced by a quartet of hosts, the MDA said, and would make an appearance only at the end of the show, to say goodbye and sing You’ll Never Walk Alone one last time.
Then what seemed the sad but inevitable end of an era became something uglier. A few weeks before the show, the MDA issued a curt announcement that Jerry Lewis would not be making a goodbye appearance after all — and was resigning from his post as MDA national chairman. The telethon went on without him (raising $61.5 million in 2011, more than the previous year with Jerry Lewis, according to the MDA) and included a filmed tribute to him and warm words of thanks from various participants during the show.
A year later, Jerry Lewis has been all but erased from the telethon’s memory. This year’s show, aired the Sunday night before Labor Day, has been further downsized, to just three hours, with no named host and a smattering of B-list guest stars (Carrie Underwood, Will.i.am, Khloe Kardashian). It is no longer called a telethon, but simply an “entertainment special,” and there will be no tote board tallying the donations. In the press announcement of the event, Jerry Lewis’s name is nowhere mentioned.
The story behind Jerry Lewis’s departure remains untold. But a few things have become clear in the year since the awkward public breakup. Jerry Lewis was dumped by the MDA, the charity he had been identified with since the 1950s. He’s still bitter about it. And the telethon is withering without him.
Jerry Lewis still won’t talk about what happened.
“That’s not a place I want to go. Because if I go there, you’ll never get me back,” Jerry Lewis said when he was asked recently in Nashville, where he’s directing a new stage musical, The Nutty Professor.
“It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. But I have already ingested all that I want from that whole f***ing adventure.”
The pain is not hard to discern. “This was a hurt man,” says Richard Belzer, the stand-up comic and Law and Order co-star, who has developed a close, almost father-son relationship with Jerry Lewis.
Jerry Lewis’ goodbye appearance was scrapped after he and the charity could not agree on its format and length. He wanted to do it live; the MDA floated several pre-taped options — “all insulting,” Richard Belzer claims.
“It’s as if they were trying to provoke him to leave.”
In the end, he did.
“It was a moral outrage, a PR nightmare and a sad commentary on this incredible philanthropic career,” says Richard Belzer.
To be sure, dealing with Jerry Lewis, now 86, has never been a walk in the park. His annual Labor Day orgy of sentiment, self-regard and showbiz schmaltz was for many years something of a punch line.
“You know why they love Jerry Lewis in France,” a comedian said not long ago.
“In France, they don’t get the telethon.”
Still, he raised an estimated $2 billion for “Jerry’s kids” over more than a half-century with the MDA, and a well-orchestrated, celebrity-studded farewell to him on the telethon might have been a fundraising bonanza.
MDA officials continue to maintain that Jerry Lewis simply retired.
“We honor Jerry Lewis, we admire the work he’s done for us, and we respect his decision to retire,” says Valerie Cwik, the MDA’s interim president.
Valerie Cwik replaced Gerald Weinberg, who was reportedly behind Jerry Lewis’ ouster and who stepped down as president last December, after 54 years with the organization.
And she insists that the changes in the telethon are part of a necessary evolution in fundraising strategy, to put less emphasis on the once-a-year event.
“It has to change because the American audience has changed,” says Valerie Cwik.
“A 21.5-hour show doesn’t fit in a 140-character world.”
The MDA Labor Day Telethon 2011 raised $61.5 million in six hours on the holiday weekend without Jerry Lewis, its host for the last 45 years.
The annual MDA show’s goal is to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and related diseases and raise money to fund research for cures.
Jerry Lewis has been hosting MDA Telethon since 1966, the annual event being even previously named the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
MDA Telethon 2011 raised $61.5 million without Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis claims that his efforts, dating back to the 1950s, have raised over $2.6 billion for the muscular dystrophy cause.
In May 2011 press, the MDA announced that Jerry Lewis will retire from hosting the telethon by making a final appearance and performing his signature song You’ll Never Walk Alone.
On August 3, a MDA press release announced that Jerry Lewis has “competed his run as its national chairman” and “will not be appearing on the Telethon.”
Both Jerry Lewis and the MDA made no comment on what changed between May and August.
On July 29, Entertainment Weekly reported that Jerry Lewis slammed the reality TV industry.
“The kids who’re on American Idol, they’re all McDonalds wipe outs…The industry have destroyed itself,” Jerry Lewis said.
Ironically, the hosts of the 2011 MDA Telethon included Nigel Lythgoe from American Idol, Jann Carl from The Biggest Loser, and Alison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser.
Even more ironic, these reality personalities paid tributes and praise to Jerry Lewis at the last night show.
“If this is the way we’re going culturally, then we should go all the way and just tell grandpa we don’t need him for thanksgiving,” said comedian Larry Miller, reported CBS, regarding Lewis’ absence at the 2011 telethon.
“In my 42 years in show business, I’ve seen a great deal of injustice, this ranks right up to the top,” said comedian Tom Dreesen, reported CBS.
The 46th annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon was broadcasted nationwide from 6 p.m. to midnight in every U.S. time zone on Sunday and the iconic show attracted outstanding talents on its first time without Jerry Lewis’ hosting.
One of the biggest stars participating to the MDA Telethon 2011 was Celine Dion, who performed in the opening hour.
“It’s always a privilege to be part of the MDA Labor Day Telethon,” said Celine Dion.
“I hope by taking part in this great cause, I can help MDA in its mission to make life better for families who are fighting muscle diseases. From supporting scientists who are searching for treatments and cures, to helping children go to MDA summer camp, MDA provides love and care in so many ways.”
Celine Dion’s motivation was shared by other artists who participated in Sunday’s prime-time Telethon, which has been broadcasted by more than 150 television stations nationwide.
Jordin Sparks At MDA Telethon 2011
In a group message so typical of their harmonious sound, Boyz II Men members Shawn Stockton, and Nathan and Wanya Morris said:
“We’re excited to be part of the MDA Labor Day Telethon this year and lend our voices to a such a good cause. We remember watching it growing up, and it’s great to be a part of something so historic that benefits so many people every day. Be sure to tune in to catch us on the Telethon this Sunday.”
Also, Tony Award-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp, when confirming that “Come Fly Away” principal dancers would perform two Telethon dance segments to the legendary original vocals of Frank Sinatra, noted that:
“Dance has the power to move people with nothing more than the flow of bodies and the expression of emotion. Progressive muscle diseases rob people of the power to move but not the experience of emotion or humanity. Hopefully, our dance performance will move us one step closer to preserving free motion for people with muscle diseases.”
When people tuned in to watch the prime-time Telethon on Sunday, they have immediately been engaged by the “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference”® show opening using dance, music and striking visuals of everyday people flexing their biceps muscles to immediately let America know how important it is to “Be the Next to Flex”® for MDA.
Followed by the incredible magic of Penn & Teller, plus the intergalactic fun of music phenomenon Voca People, and an unforgettable performance by Celine Dion, the show’s first hour, which also introduced Telethon co-hosts Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”), Nancy O’Dell (“Entertainment Tonight”), Alison Sweeney (NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and author of The Mommy Diet), and Jann Carl (Emmy-winning journalist and independent producer).
The second hour of the MDA Labor Day Telethon has been full of many memorable moments, too.
Darius Rucker performed solo and also sang a duet with MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali of Redlands, Calif. Other performances on the Telethon stage in the second hour included the JabbaWockeeZ, winners of the MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” competition; the incredibly popular Italian trio II Volo; and Ellen DeGeneres protégé Greyson Chance.
“The View’s” Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, as well as NFL running back Reggie Bush have made special appeals.
The third hour of the Telethon has been full of extraordinary entertainers, too. Lady Antebellum, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Feinstein, and renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel appeared to encourage even greater public support to help advance MDA’s lifesaving mission.
Plus, “One Step Away,” the teenage Boston band making their network television debut, has rocked the house for MDA. One “Step Away” is one of three winners of the second annual iHeartRadio.com “Get Discovered!” talent competition entered by more than 7,800 artists.
The fourth hour presented the exceptional musical stylings of Jimmy Webb, Richie Sambora, Jon Secada and Maureen McGovern, as well as the first of two “Come Fly Away” dance performances to the legendary original vocals of Frank Sinatra.
These powerful performances have been reinforced by appeals from R&B singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson and NFL legend Kurt Warner, as well as by a high-energy performance by the Universal Cheerleaders Association all-stars, 36 of the nation’s best cheerleaders representing 17 states.
Sensational entertainers continued to appear for MDA Telethon in the fifth hour, with Grammy-nominated platinum recording artist Jordin Sparks, Martina McBride, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and a second “Come Fly Away” dance performance to the sizzling vocals of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.”
The soap stars of “General Hospital’s” rock band Port Chuck, Tony Award-winning ventriloquist Jay Johnson, and Brokedown Cadillac (upbeat country group which also won 2011 iHeartRadio.com “Get Discovered!” competition to secure its live network television performance opportunity on the Telethon), also performed from the national Telethon stage at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Four-time Grammy Award-winning group, Boyz II Men, has opened the sixth and final hour of the 2011 prime-time Telethon. They have been followed by Rootdown, the Oregon-based “Get Discovered!”-winning band with a Reggae hip-hop sound. Then, Billy Ray Cyrus performed his new single “Nineteen,” and “Glee’s” Max Adler made “Make a Muscle, Make a Difference” for MDA leading up to a spectacular America tribute involving more than 100 performers. Scored with a patriotic medley, the finale was anchored by Jordin Sparks, Jon Secada, Maureen McGovern, Richie Sambora, Tommy Emanuel and 70 kids from the Clark County Children’s choir.
The 46th edition of the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon wasted no time in offering a tribute to its longtime host, Jerry Lewis, and potentially diffusing any backlash or disappointment with his absence.
A dance performance opened the MDA Labor Day Telethon 2011 and then, Jerry Lewis‘ replacements — Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O’Dell — took the stage and immediately took turns talking about the comedian’s five-decade commitment to raising money for a cure.
The 46th edition of the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon wasted no time in offering a tribute to its longtime host, Jerry Lewis
Huge images of Jerry Lewis at various stages of his career served as a backdrop on stage as the 2011 MDA Telethon hosts talked.
Last May, Jerry Lewis, who had hosted the telethon since 1966, announced he was retiring as MDA chairman and that this year’s Labor Day weekend telethon would be his last. But the MDA subsequently — and rather tersely and unceremoniously — said Lewis would not host this year’s show.
The new MDA Telethon hosts talked alluded to how Jerry Lewis had “retired.”
Jerry Lewis’ publicist Candi Cazau declined to comment to the AP when told of the comments to start Sunday night’s program.
Muscular Dystrophy Association spokesman, Jim Brown refused to say anything elaborate on the hosts’ words, but said the telethon would include at least one more nod to Jerry Lewis.
Nancy O’Dell talked about how MDA was there for her and her family while her mother was dying of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease).
“And, boy, did Jerry’s closing song, <<You’ll Never Walk Alone>>, hit home the year that my mom passed away,” she said.
Nigel Lythgoe talked about how Jerry Lewis was irreplaceable.
“What you have done for this organization and its families is something close to a miracle,” he said. “And I know that we all want to carry on your legacy. We’re going to try and, with a humble heart, and occasionally a good laugh — because you taught us, above all, that laughter can cure almost anything — I trust we will continue to be successful.”
Labor Day this year promises to be bland by comparison, with Jerry Lewis now banished from the annual rite he built from scratch and molded in his image.
As if deflated by the absence of its larger-than-life host, “The 46th Annual MDA Labor Day Telethon” will fill just six hours (Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight in each time zone), rather than the grueling 21½-hour endurance contest that Jerry Lewis used to churn through with his viewers in tow.
Year after year, Jerry Lewis bounced between the polarities of smarmy sentimentalism and badgering lunacy as if in a weightless environment
On 2011 broadcast of MDA Labor Day Telethon, which, ironically, will no longer be actually airing on Labor Day, a quartet of lightweights are standing in for Jerry Lewis:
Nigel Lythgoe (“So You Think You Can Dance”),
Nancy O’Dell (“Entertainment Tonight”),
Alison Sweeney (“The Biggest Loser”),
Jann Carl (billed as “an Emmy-winning journalist”).
Celebrities at the MDA Labor Day Telethon 2011 will include Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Antebellum, Richie Sambora and Jordan Sparks.
It may be entertaining. It may spur contributions. But as a media event, this year’s telethon can hardly match the display of wretched excess Jerry Lewis guaranteed, especially in his epic, unbridled prime.
“Jerry is a ferociously contradictory personality, and that’s what makes him fascinating to watch,” says satirist-actor-writer Harry Shearer, a Jerry-watcher for a half-century. He noted just two of Jerry Lewis’ clashing identities: “the inner 9-year-old, set loose” and the would-be deep thinker “who fancies himself something of an autodidact.”
“It all makes for psychodrama of a high order,” Harry Shearer marvels.
Year after year, Jerry Lewis bounced between the polarities of smarmy sentimentalism and badgering lunacy as if in a weightless environment. He put his multiple identities on raw display, each constantly jostling for the spotlight.
Jerry Lewis, the comedy veteran was reported Sunday to be returning as host and chairman of Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day annual Telethon, but Monday, the newspaper which published the information, made the correction.[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal Sunday report, Jerry Lewis had been “reinstated” at the annual fundraising MDA event after, based on a source close to the comedian report.[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”dreapta”]
On Monday, Las Vegas Review-Journal came back on the subject and said that the source “intended to say Lewis and the MDA had reconciled, not that Lewis had been reinstated.”
Jerry Lewis is not back for 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Candi Cazau, a Jerry Lewis representative said:
”Jerry Lewis being reinstated as the host of the MDA telethon is not accurate.”
Last May, it had been announced that Jerry Lewis, who hosted the MDA Telethon for 45 years, would be retiring after the 2011 show.
At the beginning of August, came the surprising news that Jerry Lewis was no longer the MDA’s national chairman and would not take part in 2011 MDA Telethon.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”] Jerry Lewis first telethon in 1966 was carried by a single New York station and raised more than $1 million.
In 2010, telethon brought in nearly $59 million for muscular dystrophy and ALS research.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association has already announced its star-studded lineup for the event which will be held on September 4.
JerryLewis was presented with a lifetime achievement award Saturday night at the Nevada Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas, where he made no mention of the telethon.
Best known for his slapstick humor in multiple entertainment formats, Jerry Lewis launched his career with Dean Martin in 1946 when the duo created the comedy team of Martin and Lewis.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]Muscular Dystrophy Association has reconsidered its recent decision to drop comedian Jerry Lewis as the chairman and host of MDA Labor Day Telethon?
In an unexpected reversal, Jerry Lewis was reinstated Saturday to the MDA Labor Day Telethon he has hosted since 1966, according to a source close to comedian, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Jerry Lewis, 85, has been MDA’s national chairman since the early 1950s and has hosted the MDA Labor Day Telethon since 1966.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Jerry Lewis reinstated as MDA Labor Day Telethon host
Last May, Jerry Lewis made the announcement that he was retiring as host of the telethon, but added that he would make a final appearance on 2011 show and planned on continuing to serve as Muscular Dystrophy Association’s national chairman.
R. Rodney Howell, MDA Chairman of the Board said in a statement that Lewis “will not be appearing on the telethon” and “we will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman.”
Rodney Howell added that Lewis “is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA.” [googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]
Jerry Lewis received a lifetime achievement award from the Nevada Broadcasters Association Saturday, claiming that he made his reputation in show business by saving lives.
“I made my reputation in this business caring for what I did, caring for the people that I did it for,” Jerry Lewis said.
Jerry Lewis made no mention of coming back to MDA Telethon while accepting his lifetime achievement award.
MDA dropped Jerry Lewis as host of the annual Telethon. Laugh Factory comedians held a press conference in his support.
After the Wednesday MDA announcement that the association had relieved Jerry Lewis of his duties as host and chairman of the annual telethon, despite his May assertion that the upcoming Labor Day telethon would be his last, many of the Hollywood’s famous Laugh Factory, as Paul Rodriguez, Larry Miller, Tom Dreesen, and Norm Crosby rallied to support the 85 year old comedian.
Jerry Lewis has been let go from the MDA Telethon
Last Friday, they held a press conference at the Laugh Factory club to reprimand the MDA for the decision to drop the man that was the face of telethon and they see as a member of the family.
The comedians demand that Jerry Lewis at the very least should attend the telethon and be given a proper send-off to celebrate his 45 years of hosting.
“If this is the way we’re going, we should also tell grandpa we don’t need him for Thanksgiving,” joked Larry Miller to reporters.
Jamie Masada, Laugh Factory owner said that his club is holding a petition to present to the MDA.
“The charity should have a better, bigger heart,” he said.
The petition has already gained over 10,000 signatures, but Jamie Masada said he is hoping for 100,000 signers expressing disapproval about MDA decision.
“We don’t want to boycott the charity of the kids,” Masada continued.
“We want to to raise money but they didn’t have to be cold-hearted.”
The MDA’s reasoning for replacing Lewis has not been announced, but Laugh Factory owner, Jamie Masada claimed he and the comedians support Jerry Lewis regardless of the reasons for his dismissal.
“He’s not dead,” said Paul Rodriguez during the press conference.
“He’s very much alive.”
The event was full of bitter-laced humor.
“We’re gonna host our own telethon,” Rodriguez said.
“We’re trying to find a cure for disrespect and ingratitude.”
Paul Rodriguez speaking for Jerry Lewis’s departure from MDA Telethon
Norm Crosby called the MDA’s decision as being “abrupt” and “cruel.”
“If it was time for him to leave, that’s debatable. If he was cranky and nasty and difficult, that’s possible too,” Crosby said.
Jerry Lewis and the Telethon – Norm Crosby at the press conference
“But it was all because of the passion he had for these kids and the money they raised and for the telethon. Certainly there could’ve been a much more pleasant, easier way for him to go.”
On this year Labor Day, the Laugh Factory is planning a fundraiser from which all proceeds will be donated to research for muscular dystrophy.
46th annual telethon preparations are under way as planned at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas, where the event will be held, according to casino spokesman, Tom Mikovits.
There is no comment from the MDA after the press event, according to Jim Brown, the MDA’s vice president of public relations.
Jerry Lewis has been criticized many times by the members of the disability rights community.
In 1990, he wrote a first-person essay entitled “If I Had Muscular Dystrophy” for Parade magazine, in which he characterized those with muscular dystrophy as “being half a person”. Many in the disabled community viewed his remarks as prejudicial, contributing to the idea that people with disabilities are “childlike, helpless, hopeless, non- functioning and noncontributing members of society”. Members of the disability rights community object to Jerry Lewis receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
In February 2000, Lewis stunned an audience gathered to honor his work at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival by saying he doesn’t like female comics. Jerry Lewis said,
“I don’t like any female comedians. A woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me, but sets me back a bit. I, as a viewer, have trouble with it. I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
He later defended the remark, saying it was taken wildly out of context, and added that he made 11 movies with comic character actress Kathleen Freeman.
During the 2007 Labor Day Telethon, Lewis almost let slip the word “faggot” while live on air. While talking to a cameraman, he joked: “Oh, your family has come to see you. You remember Bart, your oldest son, Jesse, the illiterate fag–no…”, at which point he turned away from the camera.
Jerry Lewis health concerns
Jerry Lewis has suffered years of back pain after an injury that almost left him paralyzed when he did a comedic pratfall from a piano on March 20, 1965 while performing at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
Jerry Lewis Synergy EZ Muscular Dystrophy
He became addicted to the pain killer Percodan, but says he has been off the drug since 1978 and has not taken one since. In April 2002, Lewis had a “Synergy” neurostimulator, developed by Medtronic, implanted in his back, which has helped reduce the discomfort. He is now one of Medtronic’s leading spokespeople.
Jerry Lewis has battled prostate cancer, diabetes I, and pulmonary fibrosis and has had at least two heart attacks. A third heart attack, claimed to have been sustained while filming Cinderfellain 1960, has not been confirmed officially. Prednisone treatment in the early 2000s for pulmonary fibrosis resulted in weight gain and a noticeable change in his appearance.
Tom Arnold, Paul Rodriguez and Albert Brooks, among others, said Jerry Lewis was treated unfairly.
Paul Rodriguez said:
“As a fellow comedian, it’s really crappy the way they treated him,”
“The man is an institution. They should have found a better was to let him go. The way they did it, it’s gonna hurt their charity.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Jerry Lewis is the face of Telethon
Jamie Masada, the longtime owner of the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, said he’s received a dozen messages from comedians, including Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle, expressing anger over the way Jerry Lewis had been dropped from the MDA annual show.
“He’s the face of the telethon,” Masada said.
“Without him, there’s no show.”
A Jerry Lewis’ spokeswoman said the star had no comment on his exit from the telethon. But others rallied to Lewis’ defense.
The decision represented an about-face from the MDA’s announcement in May that Jerry Lewis would host the telethon for a final time this year, and would appear in the closing moments of future telethons to sing his trademark number, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Jerry Lewis: “Get the cure for muscular dystrophy, then I’m fine.” [googlead tip=”patrat_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Jerry Lewis said Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills that he saw himself continuing, in part because his role as host went beyond a show business opportunity.
When a questioner asked what he would have to do to be satisfied with his life, he replied:
“Get the cure for muscular dystrophy, then I’m fine.”
According to MDA insider sources:
“The organization made an executive decision to part ways with Lewis, who, by and large, discredited the very industry that made him who he is,”
“And because the telethon is one of the biggest television events of the year, they couldn’t take a chance at more bad publicity, especially from its pitchman and host.”
Jerry Lewis, 85 comedian, started hosting MDA charity events in 1952.
Since the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon first aired in 1966, according to a June report by ABC News, Lewis calculated that after 61 years the telethon has raised $2.6 billion. Since 1966 when the telethon became what it is today – the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon – until 2010 Jerry Lewis has been the face of the Muscular Dystrophy Association .
The telethon is now called the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
The marathon telecast was once a must-stop venue for comedians and entertainers. During the height of its popularity, the telethon featured performances from show business luminaries, including Sammy Davis Jr., Liberace, the Supremes, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra.
In recent decades, the event’s appeal faded with younger viewers who found the format somewhat dated. Indeed, the telethon model itself as a fundraising vehicle lost much of its force, particularly with the rise of the Internet, which emerged as a more potent generator of donations.
Even before ousting Jerry Lewis, the MDA was poised to scale back the telethon from more than 20 hours to as few as six, primarily because stations were threatening to drop all or part of the telecast.
The telethon’s earning power had declined in recent years. According to public tax filings, the telethon brought in $56.4 million in gross receipts in 2005.
But in 2009, the latest year for which records are available, the tally dropped to $45.6 million.
Jerry Lewis 2009 MDA Telethon final hour – Youtube
The MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) has not announced a replacement for Jerry Lewis.
The MDA said it did not expect to name a new host this year and that the Sept. 4 event would be shepherded by entertainment personalities Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O’Dell.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of more than 40 disorders that affect more than 1 million Americans. The maladies, sometimes referred to as neuromuscular disorders, weaken the muscles and eventually result in profound disability. The most common form of the disease is Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which affects about 1 in 3,500 males worldwide.
Now that’s not happening, according to R. Rodney Howell, the chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s board. Mr. Howell also said in a statement that Jerry Lewis had been “released” from his position as national chairman of the association, but did not explain why. Representatives for Jerry Lewis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Muscular Dystrophy Association said,
“Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon.”
MDA did not say who would replace Jerry Lewis as the host of the 24 hour event.
This announcement came a few weeks before the telethon, which Jerry Lewis has hosted since 1966. This May Jerry Lewis said he was retiring from the show, a television staple, but he had planned to appear on it this year. But while Jerry Lewis fans won’t be able to see him on this year’s telethon, the Encore cable channel announced today that on October 22 it would offer the premiere of “an original documentary” about him.
2010 MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon Final Total and Ending
Jerry Lewis Wants To Smack Lindsay Lohan and Paris hilton
The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s decision might be partly because of comments Jerry Lewis made last weekend at the TCAs. When asked what his role would be with the telethon, he answered:
“I didn’t mean to sound rude. But you have to assume the question you asked was motivated by something, and it had to be a little emotion. And I have to tell you the truth. September the 5th, the day after that program, I will have an international press conference with press from Reuters and London and China and Taiwan and all over the world, and I will have plenty to say about what I think isimportant. And that’s the future, not the past. Okay.”
It seems he will show us what really happened the day after the Telethon that no one will be watching.