'Stand Up To Cancer' TV Fundraiser Returns

Brian Williams hosts the 68th annual George Foster Peabody Awards at The Waldorf Astoria on May 18, 2009 in New York City Brian Williams hosts the 68th annual George Foster Peabody Awards at The Waldorf Astoria on May 18, 2009 in New York City

“Stand Up To Cancer,” a 2008 multichannel TV fundraiser that helped deliver more than $100 million for research, is returning in September.

Leading the charge again is film and TV producer Laura Ziskin (“Spider-Man”), who is executive producer of the show and is undergoing treatment for the disease.

The hourlong “Stand Up To Cancer,” to be simulcast commercial-free by ABC, CBS and NBC and cable networks and hosted by network news anchors Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, will air the Friday after Labor Day, Sept. 10.

The broadcast will address cancer’s toll but, Ziskin said, will combine that with entertainment to demonstrate “we’re not grim, we’re very hopeful. The main thing we want to show is there’s progress.”

As with the first simulcast, this year’s edition will feature movie, TV and sports stars and musical performers. Lance Armstrong, Meryl Streep and Beyonce were among those who took part last year, and Ziskin is working on a similarly starry lineup.

“I literally call up people I know and say, ‘I’m just trying to cure cancer.’ I’m shameless in the pursuit of that goal. But this is really important,” said Ziskin, who has metastatic breast cancer.

The new telecast will detail how the money collected in 2008 has been distributed, she said.

More than $83 million so far has been committed to five “dream teams” of researchers from more than 50 institutions and to 13 innovative scientists working against cancer, according to Wednesday’s announcement of the telethon.

The focus of the Stand Up To Cancer project — called SU2C in shorthand — is to support research that translates quickly from the laboratory to treatments and technology that benefit patients, Ziskin said. The project also brings scientists from different institutions to work together.

The American Association for Cancer Research, the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, administers grants and provides scientific oversight in partnership with a Stand Up to Cancer advisory committee.

“Stand Up To Cancer is a populist movement,” Couric, who lost her husband to colon cancer, said in an interview taped to announce the fundraiser. “People of all ages are getting involved …. Not only people who have cancer or who are dealing with it, but young people who want a cancer-free world in their future. We really think that’s finally attainable.”

Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a nonprofit TV and film industry group that supports programs addressing health, education and social issues.

HBO, Discovery Health, E!, MLB Networks, and Style also are scheduled to carry the fundraiser, which will invite donations to be made by phone or on the Stand Up To Cancer website. All public donations go to cancer research, the group said.

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