TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.



Using Their Fame to Benefit Hurricane Relief

September 12, 2005 12:00 AM

Numerous celebrities have come forward to help in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Now add to that list some of the great stars of television's past. Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Ted Danson, Tony Danza, Florence Henderson, Alyssa Milano, Mary Tyler Moore, Rob Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Phylicia Rashad and Henry Winkler will appear together in a public service announcement designed to support the Red Cross. The 30-second spot, scheduled to premiere Sept. 15, will be carried on Viacom's Nick at Nite and TV Land and will be available to other outlets. Larry Jones, president of Nick at Nite and TV Land, said, "The most exciting thing to me was that the talent was so ready and willing to help. It was very quick, and I've got to tell you, it was easy." The PSA is being directed by Gil Cope, who has directed commercials for Coke, Levi's and Mercedes. -NATALIE FINN

Pitching In

Show business last week continued its outpouring of aid. Blink notes its generosity.


Director Steven Spielberg and family are donating $1.5 million. … Farm Aid, founded by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, pledged to help rural areas of the Gulf Coast and has asked the U.S. Agriculture Department to set aside farm loan payments in the region. … The Rolling Stones announced a $1 million donation to the Red Cross and will place donation booths in their concert venues. … Actors Hilary Duff, Hank Azaria, Shannon Elizabeth and Jennifer Tilly will compete for a $100,000 donation to the Red Cross in a celebrity poker tournament hosted by www.BosPoker.com. … Oprah Winfrey contributed $1 million to America's Second Harvest (food and grocery supplies). … Stars from ABC soap dramas "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital" appeared on "The View" for Operation: Soap Hope (Sept. 7-9) to help the Red Cross and the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. … Ellen DeGeneres said on her Sept. 5 show that Warner Bros. was donating $500,000 and would match additional donations of up to $500,000, not a lower amount previously reported (Blink, Sept. 5).


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association created the Cable Hope Fund to benefit cable industry employees and other victims. … The National Association of Broadcasters has announced an initiative to distribute 1,300 battery-operated hand-held television sets to public safety officials . … The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globe Awards, donated $250,000 to the Red Cross. … The McCormick Tribune Foundation matched $2 million in donations made to its Hurricane Katrina Relief Campaign, with help from Tribune stations. ... Aiding the Red Cross were LIN TV's WTNH-TV, New Haven-Hartford, Conn., which donated more than $600,000. … KGUN-TV, Tucson, Ariz., raised more than $150,000. … Westwind Communications' KBAK-TV, Bakersfield, Calif., raised $135,000. … Cox's WSB-TV, Atlanta, with WSB Radio raised more than $3.3 million. ... And many others helped too. -NATALIE FINN

A Kinky Series

"In times of crisis this great, we have no opponents, only common enemies, in this case, hunger, disease and worse, and whether we live in Texas or Massachusetts, we are all in this together." So wrote iconoclastic Texas renaissance man Kinky Friedman last week on his Web site, encouraging contributions to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. Now CMT has ordered two half-hour docu-soap specials following the humorist, musician and author, who is running for governor of Texas in 2006 under the slogan "How hard can it be?" The country music network will premiere the specials in November and may order a full series if Mr. Friedman gets enough votes from viewers. His proposed platform includes banning the declawing of cats and making Willie Nelson head of the state police, the Texas Rangers. -JAMES HIBBERD