from Hollywood ’s Kodak Theatre to Air Thanksgiving Night
PEOPLE’s ‘Heroes Among Us’ Featured in Tribute; Blue Ribbon Panel Includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Jane Goodall, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Franklin Graham, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, George Lopez.
This year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes, as selected by the Blue Ribbon Panel, were unveiled this morning by Cooper on CNN’s American Morning, and their profiles are available at www.CNN.com/Heroes. The public will then select the “CNN Hero of the Year” via voting at the CNN Heroes site from now through Wednesday, Nov. 19. At the November gala, CNN will honor the 10 heroes and reveal the CNN Hero of the Year, who will receive an additional $100,000. In its second year, the multiplatform initiative received nearly 4,000 submissions from 75 countries.
This year’s Blue Ribbon Panel judges include: Queen Rania Al Abdullah, founder of the Jordan River Foundation; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder and chair of This World: The Jewish Values Network; Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of Virgin Group; Deepak Chopra, doctor, philosopher, author and speaker; Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Earvin “Magic” Johnson, founder and chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation; George Lopez, comedian, actor and founder of The George & Ann Lopez-Richie Alarcon CARE Foundation; Holly Robinson Peete, activist and advocate through the HollyRod Foundation; Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and co-founder and president of the Millennium Promise Alliance; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Kristi Yamaguchi, founder of The Always Dream Foundation.
Celebrities who have participated in this year’s initiative through interviews about their own heroes include: Mark Cuban, Dana Delany, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Wynton Marsalis, Shaquille O’Neal, Susan Sarandon and Gretchen Wilson. The segments will air weekly through the Thanksgiving weekend.
PEOPLE magazine will partner with CNN for a portion of the telecast spotlighting four of PEOPLE’s 2008 “Heroes Among Us.” For nearly 35 years, PEOPLE has told the stories of everyday Americans whose acts of courage and commitment, strength and compassion are changing the lives of others.
“Celebrating the ‘Heroes Among Us’ has been a part of our DNA since PEOPLE was founded in 1974,” said PEOPLE managing editor Larry Hackett. “From acts of sheer courage and bravery to the selfless work of individuals who dedicate their lives to making a difference, these stories touch our 43 million readers every week. We remain committed to shining a spotlight on their inspiring work, and we’re thrilled to take part in CNN’s broadcast and to salute these individuals with a worldwide audience.”
The inaugural CNN Heroes tribute broadcast in 2007 featured appearances by Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr. and Jimmy Smits, as well as performances by Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow and Wyclef Jean with Norah Jones. In the United States , a cumulative 7.2 million total viewers and nearly 2.9 million P25-54 viewers watched the tribute; millions more watched worldwide.
Kelly Flynn is senior executive producer for the CNN Heroes initiative. Before this endeavor, Flynn served as CNN Worldwide’s executive producer for program development, overseeing more than 30 pilots. Flynn joined CNN in 1998, and in 2001, she joined CNN Productions as a senior producer for both CNN Presents and People in the News. Before joining CNN, Flynn held a variety of production and direction roles for MTV, where she created award-winning documentaries and produced segments for programs such as Week in Rock and Choose or Lose.
Joel Gallen, who has helmed ambitious telethon events supporting victims of both the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, returns as executive producer for the event. Gallen won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for “ America : A Tribute to Heroes.” His most recent credits include MTV’s hit series America’s Best Dance Crew and the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for VH1.
Anderson Cooper was on Thursday’s edition of American Morning to announce the Heroes list of Top 10 nominees.
All Things CNN wants to encourage everyone to vote for the CNN Hero of the Year by clicking here. The winner will receive $100,000
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