The second annual American Idol charity show, Idol Gives Back, saw its audience decline from last year Wednesday night even as an all-star list of personalities appeared on the show, urging viewers to help the disadvantaged at home and overseas. The primetime portion of the show between 8:00 p.m. and and 10:00 p.m. (it began at 7:30 p.m.) averaged 17.5 million viewers versus last year's 26.9 million. The final hour averaged 18.1 million. Among those pitching for contributions were Brad Pitt, Fergie, Miley Cyrus, Tyra Banks, David Spade, The Jonas Brothers, Reese Witherspoon, Gloria Estefan, Billy Crystal, Victoria and David Beckham, Bono, and former Idol contestant Daughtry, now a recording star in his own right. So many entertainment celebrities participated that the three major presidential candidates, who had each taped appeals, were bumped to tonight's (Thursday) special telecast. (New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley commented, "Idol Gives Back would have given the politicians an opportunity to link themselves to the stronger allure of celebrities and their high-wattage charitable causes. But American Idol producers evidently felt that the candidates didn't have the same cachet.")




10/04/2008