With Jerry Lewis Out of the Lineup for the First Time, How Did the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon Do?

Sep 6, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The Muscular Dystrophy Association aired its first telethon without longtime host Jerry Lewis over the weekend, and the event had its best showing since 2008, reports USA Today.

The 46th annual Labor Day weekend event raised almost $61.5 million, about $2.6 million more than last year, according to the Associated Press.

Nigel Lythgoe, a co-host of the program and the executive producer of "American Idol," said he was sorry that Lewis didn’t participate and added that he thought the 85-year-old actor would appear either during the show or on an earlier taped segment, the story notes.

"I was fully expecting him to turn up at any point and join that six hours — and I’m sorry he didn’t," Lythgoe said, according to the AP. "And hopefully another year he might. I mean, he knows that he is always welcome on the telethon. It’s his baby."

During Lewis’ 45-year run on the program, he helped raise $1.66 billion for the MDA, the piece notes.


  1. Telethons don’t raise their money the day of the telethon, contrary to popular belief. The telephone calls that come in are icing on the cake. It’s the fundraising year round that is highlighted during the broadcast which determines the results…and as anyone who’s done telethons (and I’ve hosted more than 30 local one) the fact the number is up this year is a tribute to MDA staff…and not reflective of the new telethon hosts, or the fact Jerry was or wasn’t there. Having said that…doing the “Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon” without Jerry is like trying to do Letterman or Leno with the band hosting the show…it was technically good…they were fine…yet, it lacked soul.

  2. Lance is right on about the amount raised. Those in the know had predicted that this “telethon” would top previous years just to save face at MDA’s home office in Tucson. What a shame. The heart and soul of MDA was sadly missing.

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