CNN has announced its 10 finalists for its second annual Heroes awards, which honor “ordinary citizens accomplishing extraordinary deeds.”
Gala presentation, dubbed “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” will be cablecast on Thanksgiving evening from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is slated to host, with a number of to-be-determined celebs assisting.
Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr. and Jimmy Smits were among those who appeared in last year’s inaugural presentation.
This year’s finalists include a woman fighting AIDS in the African nation of Malawi, another woman helping poor children in Cambodia and a man who has voluntarily helped victims of at least 15 natural disasters in the U.S.
“Viewers and Web users bring people to our attention, and then our ‘Blue Ribbon Panel’ narrows them down to 10,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.
CNN received almost 4,000 noms from 75 countries.
Included on the panel are former L.A. Lakers star Magic Johnson, actor-comedian George Lopez, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Olympic skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
CNN created the awards to recognize special civic or altruistic achievement as well as “to let viewers know that we come into their communities not just for the news,” Walton said. “We are a part of these communities all around the world.”
During the presentation, one finalist will be named hero of the year, a nod that comes with a $100,000 prize. The remaining nine will receive $25,000 each.