Where the heart is

ABC's 'Home' to hook up aud with charities

ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson is looking to create a national army of volunteers out of the millions of viewers who tear up at the end of the net’s four-hanky “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

As “Home Edition” has blossomed into a ratings blockbuster this season, Alphabet execs have been struck by the number of phone calls the net gets each week from viewers looking to help out the needy families profiled in the show. McPherson’s own friends also would ask him what they could do.

“We realized there was an opportunity to tie together what the show does for the audience and the Walt Disney Co.’s charitable interests,” McPherson said.

Working with ABC alternative topper Andrea Wong and “Home Edition” producer Endemol USA, the Alphabet decided to create an online initiative to show viewers how they can help needy families and charities in their own communities.

Starting this Sunday, “Home Edition” host Ty Pennington will direct viewers to ABC.com, where a link will guide viewers to the net’s “A Better Community” Web site. In addition to information about charities like Habitat for Humanity, site will be updated weekly to include info related to the family profiled in the most recent episode of the show.

“It’s a great extension of the show that has nothing to do with commerce,” McPherson said, noting the goal of the project is “to harness the enthusiasm of our viewers and turn it into action.”

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