Entertainment behind the scenes
Anti-Malaria pledges come fast on “Idol” fundraiser
He hardly fits the bill as an American Idol, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown won fans for an extraordinary pledge to buy 20 million anti-malarial nets for use in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
Brown made the commitment in a video-taped appearance on Wednesday’s “American Idol” charity TV special “Idol Gives Back” which brings celebrities, charities and viewers together in a bid to raise tens of millions of dollars for children’s charities in Africa and the United States.
Oil company Exxon Mobil, one of the “Idol” corporate sponsors, separately announced a $10 million donation to the fund raiser to be spent on anti-malarial efforts in Africa.
Brown’s pledge on behalf of the British government represents about one-sixth of the 120 million life-saving mosquito nets that experts says are needed to protect every child and family around the world from contracting the disease.
Malaria No More, one of six charities that will benefit from “Idol Gives Back” fundraiser, said it hoped Brown’s announcement would spur other world leaders to take similar action.
”This generous pledge will ensure that millions of African parents can protect their children from the deadly disease,” said Peter Chernin, chairman of Malaria No More.
Organizers hope Wednesday’s fundraiser will bring $100 million this year in donations from viewers of the U.S. singing talent show. Last year’s inaugural event raise $76 million.
“American Idol” is the most watched TV show in the United States with about 27 million viewers a week and is also broadcast in a taped version in about 100 countries overseas.