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Tsunami benefit raises $18 million

Earlier Sept. 11 event raised $130 million
/ Source: The Associated Press

NBC raised more than $18 million for the American Red Cross to send to tsunami victims with its benefit broadcast last weekend, the network said Friday.

(MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.)

Individual NBC stations raised another $10 million through separate telethons, the network said. Stars donated their time and the $2 million in production costs were covered by a corporate sponsor.

Madonna sang “Imagine,” and Elton John, Eric Clapton, Norah Jones, Maroon 5 and others all performed. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Johnny Depp and Ben Affleck were among the stars who took phone pledges.

The tsunami benefit, aired on NBC and its affiliated stations, struggled for viewer attention Saturday night. It was modeled after a similar benefit aired after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which raised $130 million for victims.