“The Telethon for America,” created by comedian/actor and television host Ben Gleib, powered by Michelle Obama's 'When We All Vote', and hosted by Olivia Munn and Gleib, was a non-partisan get-out-the-vote initiative that completely reinvented the telethon for the digital age.
For 2 hours, viewers were entertained and offered interesting, fresh, and funny perspectives on the importance of voting, as well as useful information regarding how to report voter issues, register same day in certain states, and get free or discounted rids to the polls.
It was the first telethon ever with the goal of raising zero dollars. Also, instead of taking calls, the calls went out from the celebrity phone bank once viewers pledged online, or formed a voting squad. Talent also participated in the telethon by live tweeting, live streaming from their own phones, and officially carrying the stream on their social channels through technology partner Transmit Live. By encouraging viewers to form voting squads, we exponentially increased those reached.
This final effort to raise awareness, especially amongst younger people, of the midterms the next day, was part of the effort that saw more than 31 million more people vote in these elections than in the 2014 midterms (highest turnout in 50 years) -- and young people turned out in record numbers. We are so glad to have played a small part in that.
This groundbreaking event, presented by ICM Partners, was executive produced by Ben Gleib, Neil Mandt, Hannah Linkenhoker, Rick Sorkin, and Barry Katz. Comedy Central, Lyft, GLAAD, and Nextiva were also presenting sponsors. The telethon was produced by Gleib’s Neurotic Gangster Productions, BC Live, MRB Productions, Mandt Bros Productions, and Barry Katz Entertainment.