By Steve Purcell on
Fox has announced that $60m has been raised so far by the two-night “Idol Gives Back” special, with donations continuing to flow in.
Viewers cast over 70 million votes following Tuesday night’s performances; Fox’s parent company News Corporation had pledged 10 cents for each of the first 50 million votes, and its donation was matched by AllState and ExxonMobil. Further corporate donations came from Ford, Coca-Cola, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ConAgra Foods and AT&T.
During a two-hour results show on Wednesday, viewers pledged money via a toll-free number and Idol’s website, while host Ellen DeGeneres gave $100,000 and judge Simon Cowell made a “significant six-figure donation”.
The money raised will be administered by the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF), a new charity aiming to battle extreme poverty in America and Africa.
Mark Shriver, VP of U.S. programs for Save the Children, told Reuters, “They took a risk by using their show to raise issues of poverty and asking people to contribute, and that is a huge accomplishment. The American Idol format is hugely successful and they introduced starving, dying children in Africa and children struggling with poverty in the United States, and brought that to prime time television.”
Fans can still contribute directly via the Idol website, or visit the iTunes Store to buy for-charity recordings of the night’s performances by the contestants and celebrities including Céline Dion, Josh Groban, Annie Lennox, Earth Wind & Fire, and Il Divo.
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