Dueling networks set aside ratings war for simulcast ofstar-studded telethon

LOS ANGELES: The four major networks - CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox -

worked double time last week to plan and broadcast a collaborative

fundraiser for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.



In an unheard-of burst of synergistic teamwork, the networks pulled

together the two-hour live show in a matter of days. "America: A Tribute

to Heroes" featured film, television, and sports stars who donated their

time for appearances.



On September 18, the networks issued a joint statement announcing the

commercial-free event broadcast from New York and Los Angeles. They also

said they would underwrite all costs.



However, publicity for the event was low key and tightly controlled,

with all networks declining to comment on details and directing all

inquiries to Warner Bros. head of publicity Barbara Brogliatti, who

acted as the event's point person for media contact.



The broadcast was offered free of charge to cable networks and radio

stations, an unprecedented move in the entertainment industry. Stations

such as cable's E! Entertainment Network and the WB ran the show, with

the WB moving the start of its fall premieres to accommodate the

event.



A-list stars such as George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, and Cameron

Diaz were quickly confirmed on a roster of dozens. Musical talents such

as Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Neil Young also appeared.



Echoing the sentiments of other celebrities and entertainment industry

professionals in recent days, Carrey's publicist Marleah Leslie said,

"(Jim) really wants to help out and get involved in any way he can to

help the victims."



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