USA NETWORK JOINS ST. BALDRICK'S IN NATIONAL SPONSORSHIP OF HEAD-SHAVING EVENTS TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHILDHOOD CANCER RESEARCH
NEW YORK -- March 16, 2005 -- USA Network is joining the fight against childhood cancer. In collaboration with the St. Baldrick's Foundation, USA Network has become a national sponsor of the nation's largest childhood cancer fundraising group that is encouraging people to shave their heads, a la Kojak, for a great cause
Getting "Kojak-ed" is becoming the buzz-word at barbershops throughout the country. "We are encouraging people to adopt the Kojak look and help raise money for childhood cancer research," said Kathleen Ruddy, executive director, St. Baldrick's Foundation. St. Baldrick's, which has raised more than $7 million since its inception on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2000, has become an annual head-shaving event ever since.
Telly Savalas, who starred in the original 1970s "Kojak" series, was one of the first promoters of the bald look long before shaved heads became popular. In USA Network's updated version which premieres Friday, March 25, bald-headed Ving Rhames, who stars in the title role, carries on the "bald is beautiful" tradition.
"We could not be more gratified to join forces with this wonderful organization," said Chris McCumber, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy for USA Network. "What started out as a campaign to raise awareness for our new Kojak series has turned into a much larger campaign where everyone wins, especially kids who have contracted this terrible disease. On behalf of USA Network and the Kojak cast and production team, we are proud to donate $15,000 and we congratulate the efforts of everyone involved with St. Baldrick's. We are thrilled to be a part of it."
Cancer is the number one disease killer of children and every year 12,500 are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. The primary beneficiary of the St. Baldrick's Foundation is the CureSearch Children's Oncology Group, a network of physicians, nurses and scientists who conduct clinical trials in childhood cancer and perform cutting-edge research at more than 200 member institutions, representing every pediatric cancer program in North America, treating over 90 percent of children with cancer in North America. As a result of CureSearch COG's collaborative research effort, the cancer death rate has dropped more dramatically for children than for any other age group and has directly led to significant increases in cure rates for childhood cancer. Through increased research and funding, CureSearch can reach the day when every child with cancer can be guaranteed a cure.
Kojak is based on the Emmy-winning Universal Television police drama which aired on CBS from 1973 to 1978, setting a new standard for realism in its canny depiction of a New York cop with a passion for justice matched only by his frustration with an imperfect legal system. Telly Savalas created an instant television classic with his portrayal of the no-nonsense, lollipop-loving detective. Rhames puts his own fresh stamp on this iconic character, bringing Kojak's grit, strength and soul to today's mean streets. Kojak, also starring Chazz Palminteri and Roselyn Sanchez, is executive produced by Rhames and Tom Thayer (A&E's "The Great Gatsby").
USA Network is cable television's leading provider of original series and feature movies, sports events, off-net television shows, and blockbuster theatrical films. USA Network is seen in over 88 million U.S. homes. The USA Network Web site is located at www.usanetwork.com.
USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.