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9/08/2005

 
Stars Align From Across Genres to Support BET S.O.S. Telethon to Benefit Victims of Hurricane Katrina on Friday, September 9

'S.O.S. (SAVING OURSELVES): THE BET RELIEF TELETHON' Features the Best in Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Comedy, Television, Cinema and More in United Effort to Help

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Their mission will be a serious one -- to do all they can to bring aid and relief to the millions of victims whose lives have been shattered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. BET is bringing together stars of music and entertainment in alliance with the National Urban League, American Red Cross, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Essence Communications and major recording labels for a primetime telethon on Friday, September 9, starting with a special benefit episode of 106 & PARK: BET'S TOP 10 LIVE at 6 p.m. ET*, followed by the commercial-free telethon from 7:30 - 10 p.m. ET* (*telethon is tape-delayed to the West Coast; toll-free pledge phone lines will be open). The telethon will also be streamed simultaneously on-line at http://www.bet.com/, with video clips and highlights available on the website after the event.

Queen Latifah along with comedian Steve Harvey are lending their talents as co-hosts for the evening featuring musical performances, testimonials, special presentations, pleas to the public for financial pledges to help the victims and video packages by BET News covering developments from the affected region. Throughout the telethon, viewers can call 1-888-BET-3598 or go on- line to http://www.bet.com/sos to make their donations.

The telethon boasts a roster of superstar artists, many with ties to the affected areas, including Wynton Marsalis, Master P, David Banner and Juvenile along with Jamie Foxx, Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, Morgan Freeman, Alicia Keys, Diddy, Jay Z, Kanye West, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, Island Def Jam Music Group Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid, Common, Usher, Nick Cannon, Omarion, Pharrell Williams, Ciara, Keyshia Cole, Avant, Lyfe, Twista, Stevie Wonder, Brandy, Wyclef, Erykah Badu, Al and Star Jones Reynolds, Chris Rock, Sheryl Underwood, Chris Tucker, Patti LaBelle, Floetry, Cedric "The Entertainer", Nelly, Rhianna, Big Boi, D. L. Hughley, Marques Houston, Choppa, Twista, Paul Wall, Kirk Franklin, John Legend, Ice Cube, The Game, Bow Wow, Musiq, Monica, Aaron Neville, Samuel L. Jackson, Chaka Khan, Chuck D, Shakim, Swizz Beats, Kem, Smokey Robinson and more. All celebrity participants will give of their time and resources in an inspiring effort to address the tremendous devastation in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and elsewhere.

There will also be special messages from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois). Representatives from the Congressional Black Caucus, National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the National Conference of Black Mayors will also participate in the telethon.

BET is supplementing the direct fund-raising effort with an on-line charity auction of celebrity-autographed and special one-of-a-kind items and memorabilia. Among the items featured are special edition sports jerseys, rare jewelry, tour jackets, hats, signature clothing pieces and other items. The auction will be promoted throughout the telecast as well on the BET.com website, and lasts until Noon ET on Friday, September 16.

Viewers will also have the option of using mobile telephone and text messaging services as a means of making donations, with cellular carriers Cingular, Alltel, Nextel, Sprint and Verizon Wireless participating in the BET fund-raising effort starting with tomorrow night's telethon and lasting through September 30. Users can donate a minimum of $5.00 to a maximum of $25.00 by sending the text message BET to 24357 (2HELP) and following the on- screen instructions to execute the donation.

In addition to the BET telecast, the telethon will also be radio simulcast on XM Satellite Radio Channel 67 -- The City, Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 50 -- Hot Jamz and Inner City Broadcasting stations WBLS (107.5-FM) in New York and WWDM (101.3-FM) in Columbia, South Carolina. Radio One will promote the BET Telethon on the nationally-syndicated program The Russ Parr Morning Show and throughout the broadcast day on its radio stations in 19 urban markets across the country. Other radio stations around the country are joining the BET simulcast effort, and there will be further updates on those stations tomorrow.

Making optimum use of its television platform isn't the only way BET is joining in the massive effort to provide hurricane relief. Hundreds of BET employees have also collected more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable items and dry goods which have already been shipped to Gulf coast locations housing evacuees from the storm-ravaged areas.

ABOUT BET

BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks -- BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.

For additional information, log on to http://www.bet.com/

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Michael Lewellen, +1-202-608-2003, Michael.Lewellen@BET.net, or
Marcy Polanco, +1-212-975-4048, Marcy.Polanco@BET.net, both of BET (Black
Entertainment Television)

Web site: http://www.bet.com/




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