NBC Teams Up with Walgreens and M&M’S for ‘Red Nose Day’ Telethon

NBC has partnered with Walgreens and M&M’S for the first-ever “Red Nose Day” telethon, Variety has learned.

The live televised charity drive, a popular annual charity event across the pond that has raised over $1 billion over the past 30 years, is collaborating with both brands, which will be two of the presenting media sponsors during the three-hour May 21 broadcast with an on-air and online presence across NBC’s platforms and the dedicated NBC telecast site.

Walgreens will serve as the exclusive U.S. retailer of red noses, which will be available to purchase for $1 each from April 17 through May 30.

All of the red nose proceeds will be contributed to the Red Nose Day fund, which helps programs that address poverty in the U.S. and internationally, and will be split between charity partners including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, charity: water, Children’s Health Fund, Feeding America, Gavi, the Global Fund, LIFT, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, Oxfam America, Save the Children and United Way.

“We are very excited to bring this internationally acclaimed live event to U.S. audiences to shine a light on the incredible efforts of poverty-fighting charities around the world,” said Dan Lovinger, executive vice president, entertainment advertising sales group, NBCUniversal. “‘Red Nose Day’ gives our advertising partners a unique opportunity to be a part of this first-ever national broadcast and harness the power of live programming for all the right reasons.”

Walgreens president Alex Gourlay commented: “’Red Nose Day’ is all about being funny to raise money, and we’re delighted to work with NBC, Mars and Comic Relief to bring this fun charity event to the U.S. for the first time. The money goes to charities that help those who are less fortunate live happier, healthier lives — the same way Walgreens helps our customers be happy and healthy. While supporting Red Nose Day, I hope we’ll all have some fun with the Red Noses — a good laugh for a good cause.”

Lee Andrews, vice president, corporate affairs for Mars Chocolate North America (Mars, Incorporated is already a “Red Nose Day” partner in the U.K.), added: “The M&M’S Brand is one of the world’s most beloved chocolate candies and a leader in colorful fun, so it’s a natural fit to leverage our brand and humor to help raise money through this partnership with ‘Red Nose Day.’ We’re very proud to be involved, and are looking forward to raising awareness and making a difference in our own, uniquely fun way.”

“Red Nose Day” will feature musical performances from A-list artists, standup performances, sketch comedy and videos produced by Funny or Die, which is partnering with NBC to create original content for the telethon.

Richard Curtis, co-founder of ‘Red Nose Day’ and Comic Relief in the U.K., will serve as an exec producer, along with Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions, Henrietta Conrad, Lily Sobhani, Mike Farah, Anna Wenger and Joe Farrell. Hamilton is set to direct. Universal Television will produce.

“Red Nose Day” makes its first mark on America May 21 at 8/7c on NBC.

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