Bryson Foster of Concord, North Carolina, is set to open the 48th annual MDA Show of Strength Telethon this Labor Day weekend, Sunday, September 1, 9/8c, on ABC television stations across the country.
Bryson Foster, 13, will make his second consecutive network television appearance as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s National Goodwill Ambassador during the two-hour broadcast of the telethon that will air on WSOC, ABC Channel 9, for residents in the Charlotte area.
He will introduce some of the show’s biggest acts, including Grammy Award-winning pop sensation Backstreet Boys and teen pop star Austin Mahone. Bryson Foster makes several additional appearances throughout the show alongside co-announcer Shawn Parr doing segment introductions and national partner recognitions.
“Bryson’s positive attitude and quick-witted personality immediately capture the attention of everyone he meets, and we are honored that he will be a part of the broadcast again this year,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “Bryson’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he understands the importance of his role as National Goodwill Ambassador in spreading MDA’s mission of help and hope to the American public. We’re very lucky to have a shining star like him to represent the individuals and families we serve.”
Bryson Foster is MDA’s 2013 National Goodwill Ambassador, and as part of his role, he travels throughout the country (along with parents, Claire and Phil) speaking to groups about MDA’s research and lifesaving mission. Bryson is affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a disease characterized by muscle weakness in the hips, legs and shoulders. It involves progressive degeneration of voluntary and cardiac muscles; weakened cardiac and respiratory muscles severely limit life span.
Bryson Foster is set to open the 48th annual MDA Show of Strength Telethon this Labor Day weekend
Since becoming MDA’s Goodwill Ambassador in 2012, Bryson Foster has traveled all over the country as the face and voice of MDA. When he’s not busy on MDA’s behalf, Bryson is enthusiastic about his seventh-grade classes, and enjoys playing with his friends and singing karaoke. Bryson Foster is a self-proclaimed sports fanatic, and his ultimate dream is to become a quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, a head coach or sports announcer – in that order.
The 2013 telethon will feature a star-studded celebrity lineup, including: Ryan Seacrest; Backstreet Boys; country stars Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker and Lee Ann Womack; Glee star Matthew Morrison; Enrique Iglesias; Paula Abdul; teenage pop sensation Austin Mahone; hip-hop dance crew Jabbawockeez; American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez; Kenny Loggins with the Blue Sky Riders; American blues rock band Vintage Trouble; and Universal recording artist and star from The Voice Chris Mann.
Additional presenters for the 2013 show include: ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser; Dancing with the Stars contestant and Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson; Emmy award-winning journalist Jann Carl; Olympic gold medal gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner; and No Doubt drummer Adrian Young and his son Mason Young.
As in the past, the entertainment event will raise funds and awareness to support MDA’s mission to help children and adults affected by progressive and often fatal muscle diseases.
While the telethon has consistently enjoyed robust support from some of the biggest celebrities in show business, the real stars on the telethon are the individuals and families served by MDA, including six families who will share their stories of survival and hope during the 2013 broadcast.
The MDA telethon is one of America’s longest-standing and beloved fundraising and entertainment events. For 48 years, funds raised by MDA telethons also have contributed to the organization’s worldwide research program. Today, through current clinical trials, there is growing excitement that new lifesaving treatments and discoveries are on the horizon for many of the disorders MDA is dedicated to defeating, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
MDA’s first Labor Day weekend telethon was broadcast in 1966 on a single New York station and has become the most successful fundraising event in the history of television. The show, with Jerry Lewis as its iconic host through 2010, and with help from a legion of top celebrities and entertainers, has raised millions each year to provide life-enhancing support and services for the families MDA serves.
Visit mda.org/muscle to learn more about the 2013 MDA telethon.
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 2012 edition of MDA Telethon, now renamed the MDA Show of Strength (thus no longer referring to itself as a telethon), aired Sunday, September 2, 2012, and was reduced to three hours for prime-time broadcast.
The telethon was seen at 8:00 PM ET/PT, 7:00 PM CT/MT, and seen live in the Eastern and Central time zones.
Kicked off with the electrifying song This Is Love by Grammy-winning artist will.i.am, the all-new MDA Show of Strength presented three hours of prime-time entertainment while raising awareness of Muscular Dystrophy Association’s research and services missions, its sponsors and the people it serves.
The show, which aired Sunday night, September 2 and featured local segments produced by MDA’s Love Network of 150 stations across the country, redefined the tradition of MDA’s Labor Day Telethon with a faster pace and performances targeted to engage show viewers in MDA’s cause.
The 2012 edition of MDA Telethon, now renamed the MDA Show of Strength, was reduced to three hours for prime-time broadcast
“We’re truly grateful to members of the public who responded to our SHOW of STRENGTH with generous contributions made by phoning, texting or giving online,” said MDA Interim President and Medical Director Valerie Cwik, M.D.
“We hope that the momentum started by the show this weekend has inspired our viewers to learn more about MDA and be involved all year long.”
The show presented a variety of musical styles, from country sensation Carrie Underwood to rap artist Pitbull, aka Mr. Worldwide, who ended his performance by inviting MDA’s 12-year-old National Goodwill Ambassador Bryson Foster to be a guest at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas in late September and declaring: “We need you guys more than you need us. You’re the ones that are strong.”
Other performers included: B.o.B, Brandy, Hot Chelle Rae, OneRepublic, All-American Rejects, Gavin DeGraw, Karmin, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Luke Bryan, Eva Simons, Silhouettes and Alanis Morissette.
You’ve Got a Friend, performed by legendary singer-songwriter Carole King and accompanied by images of MDA families, provided the emotional, inspirational finale.
Also appearing were: Nancy O’Dell, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney, Ryan Seacrest, WWE Champion The Miz, Paula Abdul, Khloé Kardashian Odom, Max Adler, Lou Ferrigno, Ace Young, Diana DeGarmo, Jesse McCartney, and Benji and Joel Madden.
People can visit mda.org to view performances, backstage interviews and exclusive online bonus performances that did not air on the September 2 broadcast.
As a way of saying “thank you” to viewers and the generous public for its ongoing support of MDA, the exclusive bonus performances include: Carole King singing Beautiful and OneRepublic with their smash hit Good Life.
Fans of Hot Chelle Rae can see them perform Whatever; Alanis Morissette sings You Learn; Gavin DeGraw delivers with his song Soldier; and B.o.B contributes two performances, So Good and Strange Clouds.
Families give new meaning to the word “strength”
Individuals and families affected by neuromuscular diseases – such as Bryson Foster, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy – were the real stars of the show and were introduced in profile segments.
In addition to Bryson Foster, the show featured 14-year-old Latondra Chappell, who has central core disease; 17-year-old Kennedy Healy, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA); 7-year-old Reagan Imhoff, also affected by SMA; and 12-year-old Justin Moy, a science enthusiast with congenital muscular dystrophy who says he wants to “become a biochemist and find a cure for muscular dystrophy.”
Featured adults included Veronica Niño and Shaun Probert, both of whom have ALS, and Angela Wrigglesworth, a fourth-grade teacher with SMA who shared that MDA summer camp helped her “to become an independent woman.”
Also appearing were MDA spokespeople Augie and Lynne Nieto, Luke Christie, Abbey Umali, Kelly Mahoney, Benjamin Cumbo, Mandy Beckham (formerly Mandy Van Benthuysen) and Lucas Cook.
Special acknowledgment was made of the crucial support provided by MDA national sponsors, including: Acosta, Burger King, CITGO Petroleum Corp., Harley-Davidson, International Association of Fire Fighters, Jiffy Lube International, Lowe’s, National Association of Letter Carriers, Safeway, 7-Eleven, and 7UP.
“In one night, we presented great entertainment, inspiring stories and the unwavering support of our national sponsors and called on the American public to join our <<muscle>> team,” said MDA Executive Vice President of Business Development Kevin Moran.
“MDA SHOW of STRENGTH is bringing a whole new energy to MDA and pointing the way to exciting new directions for all of us who are dedicated to advancing MDA’s mission.”
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
In addition to funding some 300 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates hundreds of support groups for families affected by neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters living with progressive muscle diseases.
This year MDA Telethon featured pop singers Carrie Underwood and Paula Abdul among other Hollywood celebrities at the September 2 TV event.
Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul and Idol winner Carrie Underwood had a special reunion. With their star power, much awareness was raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Carrie Underwood performed Nobody Ever Told You from the chart-topping Blown Away album.
Before she took the stage, Carrie Underwood was introduced by Paula Abdul: “Well, I’m not surprised our next guest’s tour is called <<Blown Away>>. I think back to where our journey first began on <<American Idol>> and I’m literally blown away by this beautiful talent. What a blessing it has been for me to be an up close and personal eyewitness to your youth, your talent, your passion and your amazing success.”
This year MDA Telethon featured pop singers Carrie Underwood and Paula Abdul among other Hollywood celebrities at the September 2 TV event
The telethon renamed as MDA Show of Strength played three hours of performances that were pre-taped. Viewers were encouraged to donate to support the continuous search for treatments and cures for the disease.
Muscular dystrophy affects over 1 million Americans. It is a disorder that weakens the muscles to the point of disability. Up until 2011, Jerry Lewis was the main spokesperson and chairman of MDA. He had dedicated his life to find a cure for the disease and have raised more than $2.5 billion dollars.
For many, this Labor Day is just not the same without Jerry Lewis. However, Carrie Underwood and many other performances were warmly welcomed as the potential for raising greater awareness of the disease is great.
The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon that for years featured Jerry Lewis was not broadcasted this year in Joplin, Missouri.
The program was a staple of local television coverage for decades over the Labor Day weekend.
Local programming, shown on KODE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Joplin, has been broadcast from Cycle Connection in Joplin for the past 12 years.
Nancy Hutson, owner of Cycle Connection and a longtime supporter of the MDA benefit, said local organizers of the telethon were notified in May by the national association that a telethon would not be held in Joplin this year.
“They are going to hold one in Springfield, but we were told the Joplin market is just too small,” she said.
The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon that for years featured Jerry Lewis was not broadcasted this year in Joplin, Missouri
Nancy Hutson stressed that local MDA supporters may contribute at firefighter boot blocks this weekend in Carthage, Webb City and Neosho, among other places. Carl Junction is not planning on holding a boot block. The annual MDA Ride for Life, one of the major local fundraisers for the organization, was held in July.
“This is the money that funds our clinic with Mercy Health System and helps us provide the services the local families need,” Nancy Hutson said.
“These boot blocks also were a big part of the telethon.”
Before it was held at Cycle Connection, the telethon had been held at the former John Q. Hammons Trade Center. Before that, it was held at the KODE studios.
“What’s happening now is that there are so many other things to watch on television on so many more channels over the Labor Day weekend that we are finding it incredibly difficult to get people to call in,” Nancy Hutson said.
“It’s much different now than in the 1950s when this thing started and there were only three options for watching television. The times change, but the needs don’t change.”
The amount of money that has been raised locally during the telethon is well into the millions of dollars, Nancy Hutson said. In 1987, the tote board had a goal of $135,000. Last year, that goal was $600,000.
The telethon dates to the 1950s, when the Jerry Lewis Thanksgiving Party for MDA raised funds for the association’s New York City area operations. The Labor Day weekend show has originated from Las Vegas for 28 of the 46 years it has aired.
The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association television fundraiser goes a new way Sunday, with a different title and featuring three hours of taped appearances by entertainers including country music star Carrie Underwood, pop singer Gavin DeGraw, alternative pop group OneRepublic, Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am and songstress Carole King.
The renamed MDA Show of Strength was pre-produced and taped in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, Tennessee, said association spokeswoman Roxan Olivas in Tucson, Ariz.
It was set to show on various TV and cable channels in 150 markets around the country from 7:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. Central and Mountain time and 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time.
The renamed MDA Show of Strength was pre-produced and taped in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville
There won’t be a traditional tote board, and Roxan Olivas said some cities will have local hosts. But the overall event will urge national phone, text and online pledges toward funding efforts to find treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases.
The annual MDA Labor Day weekend telethon ended a 45-year run last year with comedian and longtime host Jerry Lewis, who turned 86 in March and lives in Las Vegas.
Jerry Lewis was part of a comedy duo with Dean Martin and became a film icon with antics and characters including the The Nutty Professor.
He went on to become synonymous with the Labor Day MDA telethon after starting it in 1966 with a marathon 22-hour show at a single TV station in New York.
Jerry Lewis was MDA national chairman from the early 1950s to 2011, and is credited with raising more than $1.6 billion over the years. He was nominated in 1977 for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the telethon and muscular dystrophy relief.
The event moved to Las Vegas in 1973, and had stints in Los Angeles before moving back to Las Vegas.
Despite Jerry Lewis’ absence, telethon officials last year reported raising $61.5 million in a six-hour show with several hosts. A silent montage of Jerry Lewis film clips was shown, but he didn’t take part in person or tape his signature song, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The Muscular Dystrophy Telethon is must-see TV watching during the Labor Day weekend, an end-of-summer tradition in the U.S. since it first began in New York City in 1954.
Now an entertainment extravaganza airing live from Los Angeles, the show for many years featured the much-loved actor and comedian Jerry Lewis rallying public support in the battle to combat muscular dystrophy, a crippling disease which currently has no known cure.
In a major announcement last year, it was revealed that after more than four decades the 85-year-old Jerry Lewis would be stepping down as the major host for the show.
As Jerry Lewis himself would say, “the show must go on” as 2012 marks the 47th Annual Labor Day Telethon.
With last year’s shakeup continuing to reverberate, the MDA announced in February that the 2012 telethon would be cut short from last year’s already curtailed 6 hours to 3 hours this year – beginning at 8:00 PM ET on Sunday, September 2.
As usual, the 2012 MDA telethon will be broadcast on some 160 “Love Network” television stations across the country and viewed on the Internet via streaming video at www.mda.org.
In a major announcement last year, it was revealed that after more than four decades Jerry Lewis would be stepping down as the major host for MDA Labor Day Telethon show
MDA Labor Day Telethon Stars
In 2012, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan are lending their time and talents to the MDA Labor Day Telethon, redubbed this year as “MDA Show of Strength.”
Other artists participating in the three-hour telecast include Gavin DeGraw, Alanis Morissette, Paula Abdul, Hot Chelle Rae, Carole King, OneRepublic and Jesse McCartney, among others. The show will include performances from Nashville, Hollywood and New York, as well as celebrity appearances by Khloe Kardashian Odom, Nancy O’Dell and Alison Sweeney.
Nationwide, the telethon usually creates an outpouring of support from a big-hearted American public who in 2011 helped raise more than $61 million in pledges & contributions for both service and research programs of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Will 2012 prove to be another record-breaking year for muscular dystrophy research and support? Stay tuned…
Muscular Dystrophy Telethon TV Stations in Major Cities:
Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan are lending their time and talents to the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the 2012 Labor Day Telethon.
The country music superstars will all participate in the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon, called MDA Show of Strength, on September 2.
Other artists participating in the three-hour telecast include Gavin DeGraw, Alanis Morissette, Paula Abdul, Hot Chelle Rae, Carole King, OneRepublic and Jesse McCartney, among others. The show will include performances from Nashville, Hollywood and New York, as well as celebrity appearances by Khloe Kardashian Odom, Nancy O’Dell and Alison Sweeney, among others. In addition, six families who have a personal connection to muscular dystrophy will share stories of strength, revealing how they have coped with such a debilitating disease.
Luke Bryan is lending his time and talent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the 2012 Labor Day Telethon, now MDA Show of Strength
“We couldn’t be more excited about the show and the incredible talent we have lined up this year,” says MDA Interim President Valerie Cwik, M.D.
“MDA is in business to save and enhance lives. Our show will both entertain and urge the American public to answer the call to support critically important research and services for more than a million Americans affected by neuromuscular diseases.”
MDA Show of Strength will air September 2 at 7:00 PM ET on MDA’s Love Network of more than 150 stations across the country, as well as on the MDA website.
MDA Show of Strength is still on Labor Day weekend, still features top entertainment and inspiring stories, and still urges viewers to support MDA’s missions of help and hope.
But beyond that, MDA’s annual telecast is a whole new ballgame.
Muscular Dystrophy Association explains how MDA Labor Day Telethon becomes MDA Show of Strength starting with 2012 edition:
MDA SHOW of STRENGTH is a three-hour entertainment special featuring original performances by A-list entertainers, and special stories about individuals and MDA’s research and services missions.
Why the change?
With literally hundreds of entertainment options at their fingertips, TV viewers are looking for compact shows that tell a story. In addition, the new preproduced format is more attractive to top talent, who often had difficulty arranging to perform live on Labor Day weekend.
MDA Labor Day Telethon becomes MDA Show of Strength starting with 2012 edition
When and where?
Sunday, September 2, 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times, 7 p.m. Central and Mountain; on some 150 “Love Network” stations around the U.S. The show also will be streamed on mda.org. Online extras include exclusive backstage videos.
Who will be profiled on the national show?
See MDA Matters for a complete list of children and adults who will be the subjects of video vignettes.
Will there still be local cutaways from the national broadcast?
You bet. Local broadcasts will showcase individuals, families and MDA sponsors closer to home. In addition, members of the MDA community will make up the audience when the entertainers pretape their performances, bringing a “family feel” to the show.
Has the message changed too?
Never. MDA is still raising money to provide hope (research) and help (clinics, camp, information and support) to people with neuromuscular diseases. And it’s still true that the generosity of the American public is what makes this lifesaving mission possible.
How can you help? Show your strength!
Post about it on your Facebook page, Tweet about it, and tell all your friends to tune in on Sept. 2 and make a donation to MDA.”
None of the local TV stations in the Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida TV market are expected to broadcast the MDA Labor Day Telethon scheduled for Sunday, September 2nd, according to a list of TV stations currently affiliated with the association on its official website.
This would be the second year in a row that none of the TV stations in the area had plans to broadcast a telethon from MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association).
The MDA Show of Strength (previously known as the MDA Labor Day Telethon, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon) is an annual telethon in the United States to raise money for the MDA.
The MDA Show of Strength, previously known as the MDA Labor Day Telethon, is an annual telethon in the US to raise money for the MDA
WJTC-TV was the last local TV station to broadcast telethon programming from the MDA after having done so every year from 1996 to 2010. Afterwards the MDA announced plans to provide telethon affiliates about six hours of programming in 2011 rather than about 21 hours and 30 minutes of programming as they did in previous years. The plans also included providing the entire telethon to the stations on the day before Labor Day from 6:00 p.m until 12:00 a.m rather than from 8:00 p.m. on the day before Labor Day until 5:30 pm. on Labor Day like previous telethons (WJTC-TV usually began broadcasting the telethons on Labor Day rather than the day before).
The telethon for 2012 is now scheduled to be provided for three hours from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. rather than from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. just like the last telethon. Residents of the Mobile, Alabama-Pensacola, Florida TV market may still be able to receive the telethon for 2012 if they have access to WGN America, a cable TV and satellite programming service, or the MDA website with a live video stream of telethon programming.