CNN zeros in on ‘Heroes’

Network to present third annual special

CNN will present its third annual “Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” special Thanksgiving night from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

Newsie, which launched the franchise in 2007 to honor ordinary citizens for exemplary work that’s often out of the spotlight, has made the program a signature event and given it plenty of marketing muscle. First presentation was at the Museum of Natural History in Gotham before coming West.

With more than 9,000 submissions from 100 countries — more than twice the number of submissions from last year — the Blue Ribbon Committee chooses the top 10 heroes and then the public selects the Hero of the Year. Among those on this year’s panel are Elton John, Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg and CNN founder Ted Turner.

Special is exec produced by Joel Gallen and hosted by Anderson Cooper.

“‘Heroes’ is an outgrowth of what we do every day,” Sue Bunda, exec VP of content development and strategy for CNN Worldwide, told Daily Variety. “We cover news of all kind, and often it’s devastating, but the stories that pop through are those where the human effort trumps everything.”

Last year’s Thanksgiving live and repeat broadcasts cumed 8 million viewers.

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