Friday, October 08, 2010

Decision to slash telethon was "strictly MDA"

Though he's national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Jerry Lewis was not involved in the decision to shorten the MDA's annual Labor Day Telethon that he's starred in, tirelessly promoted and has been singularly identified with for 45 years.

A telethon insider tells us the decision to slash the national institution from its 21-hour marathon length and turn it into a Sunday night six-hour primetime special-- tape-delayed to most of the country) was "strictly MDA," and decided "mostly for financial reasons."

"They don't think of it as an end. they think of it as a 'transitioning,'" says the insider.

Jerry Lewis is 84. We're told that his on-screen work in the most recent telethon was limited to six hours, anyway. The unanswered questions are how much he'll be involved in the MDA mini-thon (if at all), and whether the institution can survive without him. The MDA's announcements of the change have featured photos of subhost and former Entertainment Tonight reporter Jann Carl.

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