WPVI Philadelphia will produce and broadcast special Thon–50 Years for the Kids on Saturday, February 19 at 7 p.m. ET. The special is about Penn State’s student-run philanthropy event Thon. Starting in 1973, there has been an annual dance marathon at Penn State to raise money for children battling cancer. It has raised more than $190 million, which goes toward Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
Walter Perez, Alicia Vitarelli and Ducis Rodgers host the special.
“Through our news coverage, we have shined a spotlight on Thon for more than 10 years, so it brings all of us immense joy to produce a televised celebration that showcases the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of these student volunteers," said Bernie Prazenica, president and general manager of WPVI. "We hope this live broadcast will extend Thon’s message to a whole new audience of supporters.”
The dance marathon in State College starts February 18 and goes for 46 hours, with some 700 dancers on their feet for all of it. Viewers will watch during the 25th hour.
The special will air on WPVI and its 24/7 streaming channel. It will be syndicated to other markets, including WABC New York and Pennsylvania stations WTAE Pittsburgh, WHTM Harrisburg, WNEP Scranton and WATM Altoona.
“I am so thrilled to be working with Penn State Health and 6abc on this program highlighting the 50 years of Thon,” said Kate Colgan, executive director of Thon. “This organization and the work that it does is one of the most incredible things that I have ever experienced, and I am ecstatic to be able to share its story with so many.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.