By Monday’s end, the Deutsche Bank Championship -- a new PGA tournament to
benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation -- will have a winner and the Muscular
Dystrophy Association will have raised millions of dollars via its annual telethon, hosted
by Jerry Lewis.
But in the months leading up to the two events, MDA organizers faced a
potential final-round pre-emption of the last three money-making hours on ABC
affiliates. Jerry Lewis was so upset that he called ABC officials to ask them not to
cut into the telethon, according to an MDA spokesman. ABC declined.
But while some ABC affiliates -- WFTS(TV) Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., for one --
were planning to cut from the telethon to the tourney, most affiliates -- KGUN(TV)
Tucson, Ariz., among them -- agreed to stick with Jerry and show the tourney on tape.
"Morally, I don't have the heart or the stomach to tell the MDA and these
families that we are going to cut to a golf tournament," said Ray Dega,
KGUN(TV)'s general manager and programming manager.