A year after movie producer Laura Ziskin lost her life to cancer, the ambitious telethon she helped start to fight the disease will be back on the air.
Stand Up to Cancer, which said it’s garnered more than $180 million in pledges for research, will air a live, commercial-free hour on the four major networks and on cable channels in September.
Gwyneth Paltrow has stepped into the executive producer’s role that Ziskin handled for the inaugural 2008 telethon and its follow-up in 2010.
“This broadcast has become a global call-to-action for all those touched by cancer,” Paltrow said in a statement Wednesday. “Like so many people, I know what it’s like to lose a family member to this disease, and I’m honored to stand up in my father’s memory.”
The actress’ father, director Bruce Paltrow, who had oral cancer, died in 2002 at age 58.
This year’s telethon will air 8-9 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 7, on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as on cable channels including HBO, VH1, Logo and MLB Network. Joel Gallen will executive produce the Shrine Auditorium show with Paltrow.
Ziskin, who produced the first three Spider-Man movies, was a driving force for the telethon before her death in June 2011 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. She was 61.
During the first telethon, she tossed tissue packets to the audience and told them, “We hope we’re going to make you laugh, and I know we’re going to make you cry, so I have some party favors.”
George Clooney, Christina Applegate, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Charles Barkley were among the dozens of actors, musicians and athletes who participated in the previous telethons. Celebrities have yet to be announced for this year’s special, which will ask viewers to donate by phone, text or online. One hundred percent of donations go to cancer research, the group said.
Stand Up to Cancer has awarded about $120 million in grant commitments to multidisciplinary research “Dream Teams” and to young scientists seeking innovative ways to end cancer’s role as the world’s leading cause of death, the group said. Of the $180 million-plus that has been pledged, some larger donations are being made over a period of several years, a spokeswoman said.
The previous telethons, intended to foster support at what Stand Up to Cancer has called a “pivotal juncture” for making progress in cancer research and treatment, have been seen in more than 190 countries, the group said.
“We set out to convince the public that this is a moment of great promise in cancer research, and that each and every person can play a role in helping the scientists who are working so hard to end this terrible disease,” Katie Couric said in a statement.
Couric, who joined with Ziskin and other women in the entertainment industry to found Stand Up to Cancer, also known as SU2C, lost her husband to colon cancer.
Stand Up To Cancer, which also receives corporate donations, is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the TV and movie industries.
The American Association for Cancer Research is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer and conducts scientific oversight of its research projects in conjunction with the SU2C advisory committee.