News Release – NBC Capitalizes On Katrina

NBC Universal has signed up Capital One as the exclusive underwriter for this Friday’s special benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, called “A Concert For Hurricane Relief.”

The hour-long commercial-free broadcast will be seen at 8:00 p.m. EST, and the credit card company will pay for the entire production cost of the event–estimated to be a couple of million dollars. Capital One will get billboard and possibly other associations at the top of the show. A Capital One senior executive might deliver a message–one that directs viewers to make a contribution to the American Red Cross.

The special will be broadcast on PAX and simulcast on MSNBC.com, NBC.com, XM, and Sirius Satellite radio. Mike Myers, Hilary Swank, Lindsay Lohan, Claire Danes, John Goodman, Eriq LaSalle, and Eli Manning will make appearances, along with Leonardo DiCaprio. They join the previously announced Tim McGraw, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis in performing a live concert.

Separately, the six networks are also readying another concert benefit to be simulcast on all networks for next Tuesday. As yet, there is no underwriter for that event.

In other hurricane donation news, Comcast Cable, as part of its efforts to help hurricane victims, will be donating $10 million of local advertising time across its systems in 35 states to the American Red Cross. A Comcast spokeswoman said the advertising time would be used to ask viewers for donations, and to air instructional public service announcements concerning preparedness for natural disasters.

MTV Networks and BET are also scheduling benefit concerts.

Credit: Wayne Friedman, mediapost.com.