Monday, May 20, 2024

Muscular Dystrophy Finally Ends Labor Day Show After Firing Jerry Lewis and Killing Telethon


They killed their golden goose. MDA has finally decided no more TV special on Labor Day weekend. They had already destroyed the 21 hour annual telethon after kicking Jerry Lewis to the curb. The show was a fraud anyway at this point, as MDA regular counted corporate donations in their “telethon” total since Lewis left. I’ve already reported that they weren’t raising much money and couldn’t collect the pledges they’d received.

The show had been whittled down to a two hour pretape, a shadow of what Lewis had done with it. And now it’s gone. I see in the press release that the latest CEO of MDA, who’d moved the headquarters to Chicago, said the show was outdated. He also cited the Ice Bucket viral challenge as the new way of getting attention. But that was for ALS, not MDA. Someone should throw an ice bucket on MDA.

The real sadness here is that so many people around the country were motivated by, and counted on, the MDA Jerry Lewis telethon. The “Jerry’s Kids” rubric meant so much to people who had little hope and a lot of problems. The new MDA is out of touch with that. Lewis must feel that a lifetime of work has been flushed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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