Haiti telethon seeks largest global audience

Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:38pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A benefit for Haiti that will feature dozens of stars and a collaboration by U2 singer Bono and rapper Jay-Z will be the most widely distributed telethon to reach viewers across the globe, MTV said on Wednesday.

George Clooney, the actor who organized the event, will host the two-hour "Hope for Haiti Now" show starting at 8 p.m. EST on Friday to raise money for the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country.

Showcasing performances from Los Angeles, New York and London, the telethon will be broadcast through MTV networks available in 640 million homes worldwide, including for the first time China's MTV channel, as well as audiences through other major networks such as CNN.

The event will also be streamed live on websites including YouTube, Hulu and MySpace and through mobile phone carriers, raising the size of the potential audience.

MTV, the show's co-producer, said the broad collaboration would make it the most widely distributed telethon in history.

Other telethons and concert fundraisers have claimed huge audiences and brought in millions in relief money.

The Live Aid concert in 1985, to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia, reached an estimated 1.5 billion people at a time before widespread Internet and mobile phone use.

The London performance of the Haiti benefit will feature Coldplay plus a group performance by Bono and U2 guitarist The Edge along with Jay-Z and singer Rihanna.   Continued...

<p>Lead singer Bono of the rock band U2 performs during a concert at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, in this October 25, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>