OnMedia: Jerry and his kids return to Channel 6 after a long absence
Just in time for Jerry Lewis' farewell to the TV event that he made a Labor Day weekend tradition, the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon is moving to Channel 6.
Chuck Steinmetz, general manager of the Fox affiliate, announced to his staff that the telethon was, in fact, returning to its old home.
"For those of you who have been w/ us for a while, you are well aware that we have a strong history of working w/ MDA," Steinmetz wrote in an email to his staff. "I know that some of us still stay in touch w/ MDA kids and families from our area."
The telethon has aired on Channel 58 since the late 1990s.
This year's telethon is a sign of changing times.
Instead of beginning the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend and stretching through Labor Day, this telethon will be just a six-hour affair, starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4.
Social media is going to be a major component of the annual fund-raising effort. And, despite the changes, Steinmetz said there were be the usual effort by the local affiliate to raise money for the charity.
(There) "will be local opportunities before, during, and after the telethon for us to help our community," Steinmetz wrote to his staff. "When we took on the brand 'Because It Matters' we knew there would be many opportunities to showcase just how much we do for the community – I'm proud as a broadcaster to add this to our list for 2011."
And, of course, there will be a local on-camera role. Steinmetz told me in a phone conversation that there will the usual local phone bank, and there are twice-an-hour"local inserts" in the national broadcast.
"We will have hosts here at the station, we will be showing some local stories," he said. "This is an opportunity for local sponsors to come one."
He said that since the station just reached agreement to host the telethon, the local hosts have not yet been picked.
Chris Zupfer, regional director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, offered this about Channel 6 picking up the telethon: "MDA is thrilled to return to FOX 6 for the 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon.
"WITI is an important partner to MDA and will have a significant impact our ability to provide services including local clinics at Children's and Froedtert Hospitals, MDA Summer Camp at Camp Wonderland in Camp Lake, WI, support groups and vital research at the University of Wisconsin Madison."
The biggest draw to this year's truncated telethon, of course, will be Lewis' farewell appearance. The 85-year-old comic announced last month that he's leaving the broadcast.
"I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I'll continue to serve MDA as its National Chairman – as I've done since the early 1950s. I'll never desert MDA and my kids," Lewis said in a statement from MDA.
Here's Lewis performing his signature closing song from last year's telethon:
On TV: Channel 4 reporter Mick Trevey is leaving the station – and TV news – after Friday's newscast. He's joining Madison-based CUNA Mutual Group Insurance as "senior communications strategist." Trevey tells me, "I have sincerely enjoyed my time at WTMJ-TV and I feel very grateful for all of the people I've met and worked with."
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Weinergate goes on and on: The late night comedians, of course, are making the best of congressional liar Anthony Weiner and his tweeted pics.
But this bit from Spike TV's "Guys' Choice" award was recorded Saturday night (for airing at 8 p.m. Friday), before Weiner whimpered through a news conference where he admitted his lying ways:
this season of Community was nearly unwatchable after a stellar 1st season. it will be interesting to read how Harmon explains this.
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