MNF Telethon Raises $5M

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ESPN and ABC Sports’ Hurricane Katrina relief telethon generated $5 million in pledges during the NFL Monday Night Football doubleheader last night.

The fundraiser was integrated into an unusual telecast that started ABC’s Monday Night Football an hour and a half early with a 7:30 p.m. broadcast of the matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants. That game was bumped to cable network ESPN at 9:00 p.m. to make way for ABC’s previously scheduled contest between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. According to an NFL spokesperson, local blackout restrictions were also lifted in the New York and New Jersey markets.

The 6-1/2 hour fundraiser benefiting the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund was hosted by ABC’s Robin Roberts and ESPN’s Chris Berman and included appearances from ABC’s Regis Philbin and Tony Danza, and entertainer Lenny Kravitz. John Elway, Howie Long, Donovan McNabb, and Chad Pennington were among the NFL players who answered phone calls alongside NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer who each put in phone time for the cause.

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