George Clooney and MTV organize Haiti fundraiser

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The Independent Online

In response to the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday, actor George Clooney has teamed up with MTV Networks to host a live telethon, January 22. The fundraiser will be telecast on all MTV channels worldwide, US television channels ABC and NBC, and cable channels HBO and CNN.

The bi-coastal program airing Friday, January 22 from 8-10 pm EST will be a star-studded event of presenters and performers. Clooney is busy contacting famous friends to appear on the show. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler were the first to volunteer their involvement, according to the Showbiz 411 website, at an Up in the Air reception.

There should be no shortage of musical talent and celebrity presenters for the telecast, based on the activity on Twitter from Hollywood stars. Artists such as John Mayer, Diddy, Ashton Kutcher, John Legend, Selena Gomez, LL Cool J, and Jessica Alba are linking tweets to charities, including UNICEF and the Red Cross with special text message codes. And fans are responding.

Musician Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti, has already raised $1 million for aid to assist his embattled country from mobile phone donations alone (Text "Yele" to 501501). His former band members have reached out to Lauryn Hill for a possible Fugees reunion for Haiti.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have pledged $1 million to Doctors Without Borders and Ben Stiller, whose has raised money to build a children's school in Hait,i is now redirecting funds for quake relief with his tweet appeals.

Clooney, a long-time activist in humanitarian causes, founded Not On Our Watch with Ocean's 11 co-stars Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt to stop genocide in the Darfur of Sudan, to donate millions of dollars through the UN World Food Programme. He also supports Realizing the Dream, a non-profit organization continuing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and donates to Bono's poverty-fighting ONE Campaign.

MTV has a history of supporting causes such as Amnesty International and mounting telethons, from Live Aid in 1985 for Ethiopian famine relief, to Asia Aid in 2005 for the tsunami relief. The network will announce its A-list headliners over the next week.