Unless you have been living under a rock the last week you are very aware of super storm Sandy and the destruction it caused along the eastern seaboard of the United States. With billion in damage and millions without heat or electricity the magnitude of such an event is beginning to be realized. In the wake of the storm, NBC aired a donation telethon for the American Red Cross–and to say that it wasn’t a success would be an understatement.
The live telecast, which features New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi along with New York’s own Billy Joel was an hour-long telethon and garnered nearly $23 million in donations for the American Red Cross. Other artists featured were Sting, Joe Perry, “The Voice” star Christina Aguilera, Mary J Blige, Steven Tyler and comedians Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey.
Matt Lauer from the “Today” show was the host for the telethon, which was taped at NBC’s studios in Rockefeller Plaza. The American Red Cross and NBCUniversal said that donations made via phone and online totaled $22.9 million. All of NBC’s networks aired the telethon, and HBO, Discovery Channel Fit & Health, and Velocity Networks joined in.
The star-studded telethon was also streamed online on Hulu, USA Today and even YouTube. NBC had approached broadcast networks CBS, ABC, and FOX, however all three of them declined to simulcast the telethon due to “logistical issues.” That is not to see that these networks or their parent companies did not want to help, as all three of them have donated nearly $4 million combined to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.
However, many analysts are pointing out that CBS, ABC and FOX continued to air first-run programming against the telethon on NBC and its sister networks–questioning whether doing so hurt the overall amount of pledge donations.