Telethon draws 59.3 million viewers

Friday night’s two-hour telethon, America: A Tribute to Heroes, devoted to raising money for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, drew 59.3 million viewers (90 million tuned in for at least a portion of the telecast), according to preliminary estimates — with millions more watching in 210 countries worldwide. A rough tally of the amount raised is expected to be release today, but it may take several more days before all of the pledges, phoned in to eight call centers, can be counted. (Early estimates put the amount at more than $200 million.)

Additionally, some pledges were made online and by mail. The telethon, which was carried by an unprecedented 31 U.S. broadcast and cable networks, came off with surprisingly few glitches, with dozens of celebrities simply manning the phones. “It was like the wall at Sardi’s come alive,” remarked Roger Friedman of