LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC is expanding its Red Nose Day charity programming with help from Julia Roberts and other stars.
The network said Wednesday that its prime-time schedule on May 25 will be devoted to the Comic Relief fundraiser for children in need.
“Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day,” with Roberts joining host Chris Hardwick in Africa, will air at 8 p.m. A celebrity edition of “American Ninja Warrior” with Derek Hough, Natalie Morales and others will precede it at 7 p.m.
The night will be capped by NBC’s third annual “The Red Nose Day Special,” hosted from 9-10 p.m. by Hardwick (“@midnight”).
“Red Nose Day’s effort to lift children out of poverty is centered around heart and humanity, and we’re excited to create a night of programming that reflects this,” said Paul Telegdy, president of NBC Entertainment’s alternative and reality show group.
Roberts and Grylls will show how donations are helping people in Nairobi, Kenya, with other segments addressing how children in the United States and other countries are being helped.
Entertainment is key as well for Red Nose Day. The roster of stars has yet to be announced, but past specials included Celine Dion, Bono, Will Ferrell and Ludacris.
Red Nose Day was founded in Britain by filmmaker Richard Curtis and expanded to the U.S. two years ago, where it has raised more than $60 million to date. Donations are made through the sale of red noses at Walgreens and Duane Reade drugstores, neighborhood penny drives and bake sales, and the NBC special.
An added attraction this year: Curtis, writer-director of the 2003 movie “Love Actually,” created a short reunion film that will air as part of “The Red Nose Day Special.” Cast members revisiting their roles from the romantic comedy include Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy and Rowan Atkinson.
Beneficiaries of Red Nose Day grants include charity organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Save the Children and the Children’s Health Fund.
Britain’s Red Nose Day, which took place last month, brought in more than $90 million, according to Comic Relief Inc. The campaign has raised more than $1 billion worldwide since its origin in 1988.
LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer