Yes, it's time for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, starting at 9 tonight through 6:30 p.m. Monday and carried in Detroit on WMYD-TV (Channel 20). The national broadcast originates from the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, with some live segments broadcast from New York and Chicago.
It's telethon No. 43, and the hosting is divvied up among the following battalion: MDA national chairman and telethon founder and hero of all France Lewis, now 82, Ed McMahon (fresh from solving his housing problem), Tom Bergeron, Jann Carl, Bart Connor, Norm Crosby, Billy Gilman, Nancy O'Dell, Tony Orlando, Alison Sweeney and Ace Young.
Once upon a time, the telethon was a showcase for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and even Lewis' former comedy partner, Dean Martin. This weekend, the talent parade includes our man KR, Celine Dion, 3 Doors Down, Sugarland, Ludacris, Reba McEntire, Will Downing, Billy Bob Thornton, Lance Burton, Bo Bice, George Wallace, Gloria Gaynor, Joshua Bell, Menudo, Maureen McGovern, John Ondrasik, Pat Monahan of Train, Ronn Lucas, Starship, Terry Fator and more.
O'Dell, of the popular newsmagazine show "Access Hollywood," is joining the show for the first time. Her mother, Betty Humphries, 74, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in November and died in June.
The purpose of it all is to support the MDA's programs of research, services and education for children and adults who have muscular dystrophy or a related disease. Last time out, Lewis and his pals brought in a record $63.8 million; the local tote in '07 was $1.7 million.