- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jerry Lewis to retire as MDA telethon host

After 45 years promoting treatment and the search for a cure for children he calls “my kids,” comedian Jerry Lewis announced Monday he is retiring as host of the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, which has become synonymous with his name.

Mr. Lewis, 85, issued a statement through the association calling it “time for an all-new Telethon era.”

“As a labor of love, I’ve hosted the annual Telethon since 1966, and I’ll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ ” Mr. Lewis said of a shortened six-hour prime-time broadcast scheduled for Sept. 4.

Mr. Lewis, a Las Vegas resident, has in recent years battled a debilitating back condition, heart issues and the crippling lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. He said he’ll continue serving as national Muscular Dystrophy Association chairman, as he has since the early 1950s.

More than $1 billion has been raised during Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons over the years, association spokesman Jim Brown said.

ABC orders 13 series, adds Tuesday comedies

ABC is bringing Tim Allen back in a sitcom and resurrecting “Charlie’s Angels” for a new generation next season.

The network says it will introduce 13 new series, eight of them in the fall. Viewers can say goodbye to “Brothers & Sisters,” “V” and “Better With You,” which were all canceled.

ABC is adding comedies on Tuesdays, led by Mr. Allen’s “Last Man Standing.” He plays a man’s man in a house full of women — his wife and three daughters. The new “Charlie’s Angels” will air Thursday nights.

The network will move “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to Friday nights and make Sundays a night of stylized dramas, including the 1960s-era stewardess show “Pan Am” and the fantasy world of “Once Upon a Time.”

154,000 request tickets for final ‘Oprah’ shows

Thousands of Oprah Winfrey fans were expected to pack Chicago’s United Center Tuesday for a star-studded double taping of her talk show as it approaches its finale.

The guest lineup for “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular” is a secret, but Miss Winfrey’s producers have promised the biggest names in Hollywood.

The celebrity response “has been a resounding ‘yes,’ ” executive producer Sheri Salata said.

“Celebrities from film, television and music feel a deep appreciation for the support they have received from Oprah and the show over the years,” Miss Salata said. “Oprah will be very touched by that gratitude.”

The shows taped Tuesday will air Monday and Tuesday, before Miss Winfrey’s final show next Wednesday. The content of the final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is still under wraps.

Harpo Productions received more than 154,000 ticket requests for seats to Tuesday’s event. Tickets were free and distributed to fans through a lottery.

The United Center is home to the Chicago Bulls and seats more than 20,000.

CNN anchor Lemon comes out in memoir

CNN anchor Don Lemon has come out as a gay man in his new book, a disclosure he knows comes with a risk.

While Mr. Lemon’s memoir, titled “Transparent,” also covers his journalism career, he’s prepared for much of the reaction to focus on more personal matters, which include growing up without a father and his revelation that he was sexually abused as a child.

Being black made being gay feel even worse, he said in an interview Monday, “because of how the black community perceives a gay person. An African-American male is taught that he has to be masculine.”

Mr. Lemon, 45, says it would be naive to assume the public won’t have strong opinions about what he has written, and he’s braced for some people to react negatively.

“But it’s important for everyone to be truthful about who they are,” he said, adding that CNN has been “very supportive” of his decision to go public.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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