TV networks to unite for telethon

Though the major TV networks have been going head-to-head to provide comprehensive news coverage of the terrorist attacks over the last week, they will unite for a joint broadcast of a major charity telethon, tentatively scheduled for this Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. ET.

The four major networks–NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX–will all air the event simultaneously, and they’re inviting any and all competing broadcast and cable networks to do so as well. The telethon, which is expected to be music-heavy, is intended to raise funds for the relief efforts surrounding last Tuesday’s attacks in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Celeb support

According to several news reports, such big-name celebs as George Clooney, Jim Carrey and Tom Hanks have signed on to appear on the telethon, though their confirmed commitments still hinge on whether or not the networks can put the event together in time for Friday.

Variety reports that singer Bruce Springsteen also has shown an interest in participating in the telethon, but those plans are uncertain as well.

Regardless of when the telethon airs, producer Joel Gallen (of MTV Movie Awards fame) is committed to produce the event.

Network uncertainty

As of Tuesday, all four major networks had not released firm information concerning the event, but an NBC spokesperson told late Tuesday that “information will be released shortly.”

So what about the WB? The Frog Network is grappling with issues concerning their new fall lineup, some of which is scheduled to premiere on Friday night. The WB‘s new comedies Reba, Maybe It’s Me and Raising Dad are all scheduled to bow that night.

Patty Triplett, WB‘s director of primetime publicity, told on Tuesday that she would have information about the network’s plans on Wednesday.

Emmy implications?

According to Variety, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is considering changing the format of the Emmys broadcast, now set for Oct. 7, due to the turmoil following the terrorist attacks. Instead of a glitzy, black-tie soiree, the Academy is toying with the idea of eliminating the red-carpet pomp and circumstance and opting for a less celebratory, more casual atmosphere.

In fact, if Friday’s charity telethon is pushed back too far, the Academy may decide to convert the Emmys broadcast into a fund-raiser itself.

Rumours also circulated on Tuesday that scheduled host Ellen DeGeneres might be replaced with someone less comedic to give the ceremony an appropriately somber tone. has confirmed that DeGeneres will continue as host, although her time has been scaled back.