LOS ANGELES – No tote board. No Jerry Lewis. And not from Las Vegas.
An annual Muscular Dystrophy Association television fundraiser goes a new way Sunday, with a different title and featuring three hours of taped appearances by entertainers including country music star Carrie Underwood, pop singer Gavin DeGraw, alternative pop group OneRepublic, Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am and songstress Carole King.
The renamed “MDA Show of Strength” was pre-produced and taped in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, Tenn., said association spokeswoman Roxan Olivas in Tucson, Ariz.
There won't be a traditional tote board, and Olivas said some cities will have local hosts.
But the overall event will urge national phone, text and online pledges toward funding efforts to find treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases.
The annual Labor Day weekend telethon ended a 45-year run last year with comedian and longtime host Lewis, who turned 86 in March and lives in Las Vegas.
Lewis was part of a comedy duo with Dean Martin and became a film icon with antics and characters including the “The Nutty Professor.”
He went on to become synonymous with the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon after starting it in 1966 with a marathon 22-hour show at a single TV station in New York.
Lewis was MDA national chairman from the early 1950s to 2011 and is credited with raising more than $1.6 billion over the years. He was nominated in 1977 for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the telethon and muscular dystrophy relief.
The event moved to Las Vegas in 1973, and had stints in Los Angeles before moving back to Las Vegas.
Despite Lewis' absence, telethon officials last year reported raising $61.5 million in a six-hour show with several hosts.
A silent montage of Lewis film clips was shown, but he didn't take part in person or tape his signature song, “You'll Never Walk Alone.”