After a one year hiatus, FOX and “American Idol” are ready to give back again.
The network announced on Tuesday (Oct. 6) that the third installment of “Idol Gives Back” will air on Wednesday, April 21. FOX and “Idol” have only begun to compile the list of potential charitable recipients, but the provisional group includes Children”s Health Fund, Feeding America, Malaria No More, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and the United Nations Foundation.
“This is our opportunity to reach out and support the people of America and around the world who need our compassion and generosity to improve or even save their lives,” states “Idol” creator Simon Fuller, CEO of 19 Entertainment. “America will undoubtedly prove once again what a remarkable and generous nation it is. For ‘American Idol’ to be able to facilitate this kind of initiative makes me very proud.”
In its first two installments, “Idol Gives Back” raised more than $140 million for charities. The shows drew appearances and performances by stars including President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former President George W. Bush, Brad Pitt, Bono, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Annie Lennox, Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Josh Groban, Pink, Céline Dion, Robin Williams and Ben Stiller.
Last year, citing the economic downturn, “Idol” decided not to do “Idol Gives Back,” but prospects are apparently rosy enough for another go.
“In today”s tough economic times, it”s more important than ever – but more difficult than ever — to raise money to help those in need,” states FOX reality guru Mike Darnell. “With this year’s ‘Idol Gives Back,’ we”re focused on raising awareness about the challenges that so many children and families currently face and demonstrating how even small donations can make a difference and help save lives. Every little bit counts.”
In its first installment, “Idol Gives Back” took the form of a regular elimination episode, with the surprise twist at the end that no contestant went home. The second time around, “Idol” dismissed all pretense of a possible elimination and just went with a straight-forward telethon and, perhaps as a result, ratings declined.
This season, the pretense has returned! FOX’s release promises that in addition to the celebrity performances and the opportunity to make donations, one of the finalists will be sent home. Frankly, we’ll believe it when we see it.
“There”s never been a more important and appropriate time to give what we can to help those less fortunate,” states “Idol” executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We all have less to give, and we may not raise as much as in previous years, but with the power of the ‘Idol’ platform and the generosity of our viewers, we hope to extend a much-needed compassionate hand to those children and families who need us the most in these trying economic times.”