NBC, CBS & ABC renew anti-cancer telecast


Network news anchors Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams all appeared on their respective morning shows Wednesday to announce that the three networks will jointly telecast a second “Stand Up To Cancer” (SU2C) special. The trio will host the event to be broadcast simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS on September 10th.

The first SU2C fundraising broadcast was in September of 2008 and raised over $100 million to fund cancer research. It was broadcast simultaneously on CBS, ABC, NBC and E! This year, HBO, Discovery Health, E!, MLB Network and The Style Network will also carry the show, and other networks and cable channels are also expected to join the effort, the organizers said.

Similar to the landmark 2008 broadcast, this year’s telecast will feature live performances of legendary recording artists and stars from film, television and sports who will present content providing viewers with insights into cancer. While the broadcast will honor the memory of those taken by the disease, the SU2C organization says it will focus on surviving cancer – on living a full life after being diagnosed with it. In the United States alone this year, SU2C notes, 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with cancer.

“Stand Up To Cancer is a populist movement,” explained Katie Couric. “People of all ages are getting involved…Not only people who have cancer or who are dealing with it, but young people who want a cancer-free world in their future – we really think that’s finally attainable.”

“The broadcast is a way of saying, ‘Together, we can do this.’ And yes, we’re losing one person every minute, but 11 million survivors are out there; living proof that this can be done.  It will also be an opportunity for everybody to figure out concrete ways that they can do the things that they connect to the most strongly,” said Diane Sawyer.
“I try to remind people, we won the Second World War, came back from that, and decided to go to the moon. We didn’t really break a sweat.  And when you think about it, think of all that energy and power we can unleash when we want to…As we said when we first embarked on this, if enough people stand up and say, ‘No, we’re not going to do this anymore,’ we can do this,” said Brian Williams.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer. AACR is responsible for administering the grants and providing scientific oversight in conjunction with the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., institute professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with vice chairs: Brian J. Druker, M.D., director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, and Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. 

Since the 2008 fundraising telecast more than $83 million has since been committed to five multi-disciplinary “Dream Teams” of researchers from more than 50 institutions, as well as to 13 young innovative scientists who are undertaking high-risk, potentially high-reward projects to end the reign of cancer as a leading cause of death in the world today.

RBR-TVBR observation: Kudos again to Katie Couric at CBS who pushed this joint collaboration two years ago, having suffered the loss of both her husband and sister to cancer. You don’t often see the networks joining hands to do anything, but her fellow anchors at NBC and ABC (then Charlie Gipson) jumped on board and ran with the idea. The list of networks is even bigger this year and will create even more of a broadcast roadblock to raise money for this important cause – just a few days before the networks go back to fierce competition in rolling out their new Fall shows.