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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stars gather for ‘Tsunami Aid’ concert

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

The most star-studded event of the weekend will not be the Golden Globe Awards.

Every entertainment and news network in the NBC-Universal media omniverse will broadcast the two-hour tape-delayed charity telethon “Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope” (8 p.m., tonight, NBC, USA, Sci Fi, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC).

Scheduled musical performers include Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, India.Arie, Tom Jones, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd), Brian Wilson and Gloria Estefan.

A multitude of celebrity fund-raisers have been booked, including Halle Berry, Kevin Spacey, Usher, George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis, Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, Tim Robbins, Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes.

This marks the first multichannel celebrity charity event since Sept. 2001, when a 9/11 fund-raiser was broadcast on virtually every entertainment channel.

The AKC National Championship (8 p.m., Animal Planet, tonight, concludes Sunday) takes a page from “American Idol.” For the first time ever, viewers will be able to choose their very own “Best in Show” by logging on to www.votetopdog.com.

The four-hour, two-night fur fight will be broadcast live from St. Petersburg, Fla. Tonight’s competition showcases four groups, and Sunday will present the competition in three categories. But only one top dog can emerge from the seven categories and earn the $50,000 prize.

CBS debuted the reality show “The Will,” and nobody watched. OK, around 4 million people watched, earning it a 1.5 rating. That’s less than half the number of people who tuned in to a repeat of “Cold Case” – and just enough viewers to get the hideous “The Will” cancelled right out of the gate. Score one for good taste.

But while there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth at CBS, over at its corporate cousin, VH1, they’re breaking out the champagne because last Sunday’s debut of the third season of “The Surreal Life” (9 p.m., Sunday, VH1) attracted more than 2 million viewers. That’s a disastrously small audience for a network, but it’s enough to make “Life” VH1’s highest-rated telecast in nearly five years and the highest-rated episode of a VH1 original series ever.

“Predators at War” (9 p.m., Sunday, National Geographic) offers gruesome footage of hungry lions, hyenas and cheetahs, accompanied by narrative laden with military metaphors. It’s bloody, disturbing and heavy-handed.

Neither nature nor the military are served well here.