Viacom Brands Unite for Hurricane Relief Telethon On September 12

After Hurricane Harvey left Texas residents reeling from one of the most devastating storms in U.S. history, CMT teamed up with other broadcast networks to air a benefit telethon on Sept. 12.

Since then, Hurricane Irma decimated entire islands in the Caribbean and left millions of Florida residents without power. The affected areas are still in “rescue mode” according to The New York Times, meaning we don’t yet know the full extent of damage caused by this colossal storm, but experts agree it will be extensive.

Now, the telethon has expanded to aid the victims of Hurricane Irma. Hand In Hand: A Benefit For Hurricane Relief also expanded its broadcast scope. Viacom networks MTV and BET will now join CMT in airing the special.

“Silence is overrated,” tweeted CMT. “Sometimes, music is the only thing that can get your mind off everything else.”

The hour-long special aims to do just that—use music as a way to bring peace of mind to those affected by the hurricane. And with BET, MTV and other broadcast networks now airing the event, Hand in Hand can reach as many homes as possible. This means more opportunity for people to make personal donations to assist hurricane victims. The telethon is predicted to be one of the largest benefit concerts in history.

The event will air from Los Angeles, with stages in New York, Nashville and San Antonio, featuring appearances, performances, and tribute messages from a bevy of influential stars—including Houston native Beyoncé, the “King of Country” George Strait, George Clooney, Karlie Kloss, Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Drake, Kelly Rowland, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand, Oprah and more.

Renowned talent manager Scooter Braun, who recently helmed the One Love Manchester benefit concert, partnered with Houston rapper Bun B to coordinate the telethon.

In an interview with Mass Appeal, Bun B described the gravity of Harvey’s decimation. “Our biggest problem is going to be rebuilding this city,” said the rapper. “We have sinkholes popping up all over the city…We’re going to have to figure out how to house tens of thousands of people now that had homes yesterday.”

The telethon is one of many relief efforts sparked by members of the entertainment industry, as well as philanthropists and business owners across the country and overseas.

Viacom networks are able to rally support for hurricane relief in a unique way. CMT brings country music and entertainment to more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT fans can tune in to the telethon and give back to the country music community and watch their favorite stars perform live. BET, the leading content provider for African-American audiences and those who appreciate black culture, attracts millions of fans in the U.S. and abroad. MTV, with its global reach of 500 million fans, covers an even wider berth of people, with its primary focus on youth culture. Together, our networks will bring the telethon to a massive number of diverse viewers, from all over the world.

Further efforts to give back

CMT’s eighth annual Artists of the Year ceremony on Oct. 18 will be a star-studded gala honoring country music’s outstanding artists—as well as those impacted by the hurricane.

“This year’s special will extend beyond music to honor the unwavering spirit of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and champion the many volunteers contributing to the ongoing rescue and recovery efforts,” wrote CMT in a news release.

And CMT’s philanthropic initiative, CMT One Country, is working with the American Red Cross to help provide disaster relief to Houston.

CMT employees showed solidarity with the Texas community with a rush of social media messaging from CMT shows including Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making The Team and Hot 20 Countdown.

Employees also initiated a PSA on CMT Radio.  All of this messaging has been encouraging CMT fans to donate to the American Red Cross and Save the Children.

Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief will air on MTV, BET and  CMT: Tuesday, September 12  at 8 p.m.

Viewers can donate via telephone, text messaging and a digital donation platform, all of which will open at the beginning of the show. 


This article has been updated to include information about the additional relief efforts.

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