The 12-12-12 benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy recovery will potentially reach as many people as the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Grammys, according to organizers. But the big four broadcasters and most major cable networks won't be airing the commercial-free event nationally.
For most large networks, it seems to be a matter of programming logistics. "[We] just didn't have room essentially -- too much inventory," an ABC spokeswoman said via email.
News Corp.'s FX Movie Channel and Mundo Fox will air the concert, but a Fox Broadcasting spokesman said the network didn't seem to have received a formal invitation. It probably would have declined regardless, however, with semifinals of "The X-Factor" scheduled for Wednesday night.
NBC plans to show new episodes of "Whitney" and "Chicago Fire" on Wednesday; ABC has new episodes of "The Middle," "Neighbors" and "Modern Family," as well as the special "Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012."
CBS will air "The Concert for Sandy Relief" on WLNY-TV in New York. The CW station in Philadelphia is likewise carrying the simulcast.
Still, the concert will be available to nearly 2 billion people in more than 190 countries via TV networks, radio channels, movie theaters and digital streaming feeds, according to organizers. The event, which is sponsored by Chase, is being produced by James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company; John Sykes, president of Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises; and Harvey Weinstein, co-founder and chairman of the Weinstein Company. All proceeds will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund.
More than 30 cable networks will carry the concert, including Time Warner 's HBO; CBS Corp.'s Showtime 2; Viacom's VH1 Classic; Discovery Communications' Destination America and Discovery Fit & Health; Scripps Networks' Cooking Channel; Hallmark Movie Channel; and AMC Networks' AMC, IFC and Sundance Channel.
The concert will also be made available on digital platforms including MTV .com, VH1.com, YouTube, Vevo, Hulu, AOL, Myspace and Time Inc. websites such as Time .com, InStyle.com and EW.com. Clear Channel will broadcast it on its radio stations and stream it on the digital radio service iHeartRadio.
Musical acts slated to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York include the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Kanye West, the Who and Paul McCartney. Celebrity presenters such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Stewart, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Seth Meyers and Steve Buscemi are also scheduled to appear.
Viewers can donate $10 to the Robin Hood Relief Fund by texting "RobinHood" to 50555.
NBC Universal aired its own benefit concert on Nov. 2, a Friday, running the show on company networks including NBC, USA, Bravo and MSNBC. The commercial-free event raised $23 million for the American Red Cross to provide food, shelter and other assistance to those affected by the hurricane and attracted nearly 6.3 million viewers on NBC.
"Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together" was hosted by "Today" host Matt Lauer and featured performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sting and Christina Aguilera.
Walt Disney also hosted its own "Day of Giving" on its networks on Nov. 5, raising $17 million for the Red Cross. "Day of Giving" messages were incorporated into shows like "Good Morning America," "The View," "Live With Kelly and Michael," "Dancing With the Stars," and across ABC, ABC Family, ESPN and Disney.
Other media companies have given directly to storm-recovery efforts. News Corp., for example, said it would donate $1 million to support victims and cleanup.