NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi will join Sting and other top music stars on Friday for a special television benefit concert on NBC to aid victims of Sandy, the giant storm that killed scores and devastated large sections of the U.S. Northeast.
The Walt Disney Co meanwhile announced a $2 million donation for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts on Thursday, while Disney/ABC Television Group designated November 5 as a “Day of Giving” wherein viewers of network and syndicated programming would be encouraged to help.
Entertainment giant Viacom Inc. also announced a $1 million donation to the Mayor’s Fund NYC and local organizations.
Springsteen and Bon Jovi are both New Jersey natives who have often taken inspiration from their home state and used their star platform to highlight both its charms and challenges.
NBC said on Thursday that the commercial-free one-hour telecast, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” will air on Friday night and will include appearances by Christina Aguilera, Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon and NBC News anchor Brian Williams.
The telethon, also to be shown on NBC Universal networks Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA and live streamed on NBC.com, will benefit the American Red Cross, with proceeds going toward victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Today” show anchor Matt Lauer, who announced the concert on air on Thursday, will host. Donors can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 contribution.
On Tuesday, Springsteen tweeted a picture of the legendary Stony Pony club in New Jersey, saying “The Stone Pony stands proud despite hurricane Sandy!”
The club, at the ocean’s edge in Asbury Park, N.J., one of the shoreline communities lashed by the storm, has been associated with Springsteen since he performed there early in his career, and he continues to make appearances.
Bon Jovi cut short a promotional tour in the United Kingdom to rush back to his home state, where he established a charity restaurant several years ago.
“I really need to get back home having spoken to my wife and kids,” he told Britain’s Daily Mail before flying out of London. “I need to be with my people. Thankfully, my family are safe,” he said, adding “The devastation is off the charts.”
Large sections of the state, especially its famous coastline, were devastated by the monster storm this week.
Most of the other telethon performers are also from areas hard-hit by the storm, which killed at least 82 people in the United States and Canada and was the largest storm by area to hit the United States in decades. Millions remain without power, and emergency teams have struggled to reach the worst-hit areas.
Announcing ABC’s “Day of Giving” set for Monday, Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said, “This coordinated effort between network and syndicated programming spanning news, daytime, primetime and late night will reach tens of millions of viewers with a specific call to action,” such as encouraging viewers to donate to the Red Cross.
Reporting by Colleen Jenkins, and Chris Michaud; Editing by Alden Bentley and M.D. Golan