George Clooney heads up NBC's tsunami relief show -- He's helping to recruit such stars as Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, and Tim McGraw for the Jan. 15 telethon

By Gary Susman
Updated January 05, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

George Clooney, who was a leader in the ad hoc celebrity fundraising drive that came together after 9/11, is taking a similar role in the current tsunami relief effort. According to the Los Angeles Times, Clooney will appear on the Jan. 15 primetime telethon that is airing live on NBC and all of its sister cable channels (including Bravo, MSNBC, USA, and the Sci Fi Channel). He’s also helping recruit other stars to perform on the show. So far, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, and Tim McGraw have signed on.

Meanwhile, NBC’s 14 network-owned affiliate stations across the country are getting a jump on the effort with a telethon on Wednesday night, produced by New York’s WNBC and UNICEF. Stars on the bill include Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, Debra Messing, Téa Leoni, Clay Aiken, Dustin Hoffman, and Alyssa Milano.

Other celebrities are continuing to contribute in their own way. Willie Nelson, who’s headlined the Farm Aid concerts for many years, is doing the same this Saturday in Austin, Texas, leading a roster of musicians that includes Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, and Bruce Robison. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders.

Echoing large donations to relief efforts from Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg and his family donated a combined $1.5 million to Save the Children, CARE, and Oxfam. ”Although they generally make their donations anonymously, they are making this public to further encourage others to make donations of any amount to these and other organizations aiding the relief effort,” a family spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.