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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hurricane Katrina telethons start tonight

Lynn Elber Associated Press

Hurricane Katrina telethons reminiscent of benefits for tsunami and 9/11 victims will begin airing tonight, while Jerry Lewis’ annual Labor Day fund-raiser will join in as well.

“A Concert for Hurricane Relief” will air tonight at 8 on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. (The start of “Dateline NBC” will be pushed back by one hour, to 9 p.m.)

The hourlong special, hosted by “Today” show co-host Matt Lauer in New York, is scheduled to include performances by Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr. and Tim McGraw, all of whom have ties to the affected areas, NBC said. Leonardo DiCaprio and other celebrities are expected to participate.

Viewers will be encouraged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Another aid effort was announced by MTV Networks, starting with live concert broadcasts throughout the day Saturday on MTV, VH1 and CMT intended to raise funds for the American Red Cross and other organizations.

Artists including Green Day, Ludacris, Gretchen Wilson, Usher, Alicia Keys, John Mellencamp, the Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, David Banner and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington are scheduled to perform at concerts in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn.

The special also will be available on MTV2, mtvU and VH1 Classic, as well as broadband video networks MTV Overdrive and VSpot.

The concert is part of what MTV Networks said will be an ongoing effort by its outlets to promote volunteer efforts as well as fund-raising. Information will be provided on how viewers may join in relief activities and donate clothes and other goods.

Lewis said his telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association would include celebrity appeals for hurricane relief. MDA also will donate $1 million to help victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, he said.

“While the needs of ‘my kids’ are with us all year-round, Hurricane Katrina is a national disaster on a scale that’s difficult to comprehend,” the actor-comedian said in a statement. “We simply couldn’t ignore the need to help.”

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