Saturday, February 14, 2009

Australia Unites and gives $21 million - The Australian - 13th February 2009

Last night’s telethon on Channel Nine raised $21 million for victims of the Victorian bushfires.

The marathon five-hour live event was watched by an average audience of 1.2 million people, giving Nine a win in the ratings for Thursday night and a share of 31.7 per cent.

The Red Cross Bushfire Appeal is now up to $77 million.

Nine Network CEO David Gyngell released a statement last night: “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of all Australians and hope the donations made tonight help to alleviate some of the hardship ahead for those affected.

“I would also like to thank everyone involved in the production tonight who has done an outstanding job in making this event happen.”

The telethon was criticised anonymously by rival networks who said it was a cynical attempt to get higher ratings by abandoning regular programming on a weak night.

Nine made the most of the huge audience, showcasing its news and current affairs talent and screening commercials for its shows.

Hosted by Eddie McGuire from Channel Nine’s Melbourne studios, the telethon included live crosses to Today co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic at a Whittlesea refuge surrounded by survivors of the fires.

All donations received go to the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The appeal will continue with the aim to relieve the suffering and heartache of those affected and donations can be made by going on-line at, calling the toll free number 1800 811 700, or donating via the Commonwealth Bank. (Credit: The Australian)

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