Téa Leoni & Erich Bergen on ‘UNICEF Won’t Cease’ with Cher, Rod Stewart – Variety


After sharing the display screen for six seasons of “Madam Secretary,” Téa Leoni and Erich Bergen have teamed up once more for the large enterprise of manufacturing UNICEF USA’s first streaming occasion, “UNICEF Won’t Cease,” which can broadcast on Saturday, Might 9.

With Bergen because the occasion’s govt producer and Leoni serving as a UNICEF ambassador since 2001 and a UNICEF USA nationwide board member since 2006, the pair have helped assemble an all-star listing of contributors for the particular. The occasion highlights the group’s COVID-19 response and celebrates the frontline employees, well being consultants and the kids UNICEF helps in over 190 international locations.

“It’s tremendous thrilling, as a lot work as it’s, the chance to present again. I look out my window right here in New York and I see all of those folks with their masks on, standing six ft aside and I really feel honored to have the ability to take part. This occasion actually was born out of desirous to rejoice and honor all that everyone all over the world is doing to guard one another and save lives,” Leoni informed Variety over the telephone on Thursday, added that she hopes the occasion might be soothing for audiences.

“The problem for Téa and I as producers has been — when the scenario is as dangerous as it’s right here on this nation — how can we ask folks to concentrate only for a number of moments to the worldwide story,” Bergen defined. “So we’re doubling down on this concept of what we do proper now, what we do tonight truly adjustments tomorrow for this complete planet.”

“These items at all times come right down to the wire,” Bergen mentioned, explaining that he and Leoni are nonetheless pulling collectively last-minute massive concepts for the particular. “I simply received a textual content from one star who says they wish to re-tape their [part], so I’m like ‘Tick tock.’ I like Téa Leoni and typically she has concepts that simply listening to the thought is intimidating to execute since you don’t have a alternative however to a minimum of chase it with her. And she or he finally ends up being proper and it finally ends up being nice!” The truth is, Lucy Liu and Millie Bobby Brown had been added to the already star-studded lineup within the hours between Bergen’s interview and this text’s publication.

An unique efficiency from Cher headlines the listing of musical acts, which additionally contains Chloe x Halle, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, Luke Islam, Matthew Morrison, Musicality, Jordin Sparks, Sting, Rod Stewart, Rob Thomas, Il Volo and The Wailers that includes Julian Marley, in addition to a digital reunion of the Eurythmics with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.

The streaming occasion additionally options appearances by UNICEF ambassadors, supporters and particular friends Halima Aden, Pablo Alborán, Ross Butler, Sofia Carson, Tamsen Fadal, Pau Gasol, Jenna Bush Hager, Laurie Hernandez, Angélique Kidjo, Lucy Meyer, Dirk Nowitzki, Kenna, Lawrence O’Donnell, Salma Hayek Pinault, Pink, and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA. Emma Kathleen Ferrer pays tribute to her grandmother, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn.

Throughout the particular, Cher will debut the music video for her cowl of the Spanish-language model of ABBA’s hit music “Chiquitita.” UNICEF teamed up with the singer to supply the music video. Proceeds from the brand new rendition might be donated to UNICEF, retaining in line with ABBA’s pledge to donate proceeds from the music to the group after it was featured within the Music for UNICEF live performance in 1979.

“I’m so proud to premiere this new model throughout the broadcast of ‘UNICEF Won’t Cease,’” Cher mentioned in a press release. “I’ve lengthy admired UNICEF, particularly for his or her work with younger girls, since I used to be a little bit lady. Now, greater than ever, it’s important that we prioritize each little one all over the world as in the event that they had been our personal.”

Bergen says that the Cher concept was a giant impetus for the present from the start. “We received all of those folks to return aboard due to UNICEF, not as a result of it was time to advertise a brand new report or their tour received canceled, however as a result of the individuals who have been placing collectively this present had actually nice conceptualized concepts for music moments — the best way you’d while you’re placing collectively a TV particular.”

Bergen has shortly change into a professional at producing streaming occasions, after heading up the web revival of “The Rosie O’Donnell Present” and the star-studded “Saturday Night time Seder.” So when UNICEF got here calling, Bergen received straight to work for the trigger, since he’d already fallen in love with the group after Leoni introduced him to UNICEF’s Snowflake Ball in 2016.

“I’m a giant believer within the energy of artwork and music,” Bergen mentioned, including that he hopes these occasions remind audiences of the significance of arts schooling. “Watching artists come collectively from residence on their sofa, with no make-up and hair — I imply, besides Cher, then you will have full hair and make-up — it’s sort of wonderful. I additionally suppose for the nerd in me, rising up as a child obsessed with Eurythmics data and [then thinking] ‘This Eurythmics music could be so good on this spot within the UNICEF present’. Then you definitely e-mail their reps after which they ship in movies of themselves performing on their iPhones. It’s the weirdest a part of my life; it’s simply been wild.”

“It is a actually massive enterprise,” Leoni mentioned, praising Bergen’s efforts. “I’m extremely impressed by what he’s endeavoring to do and, in truth, now what I can say we’re going to do. What’s been enjoyable has been connecting with associates and having the ability to say to them. ‘Look, I would like your pleasure, I would like your music that can rejoice this [moment].’”

Leoni additionally shares a lifelong connection to UNICEF, carrying on a household custom after her grandmother Helenka Pantaleoni co-founded UNICEF USA in 1947 and served as its president for 25 years. Her father Anthony Pantaleoni served because the Board Chair on the group.

Talking of the 1979 Music for UNICEF live performance, she recalled, “My grandmother met Rod Stewart, as a result of he was donating proceeds from ‘Da Ya Suppose I’m Attractive?’ She got here again and she or he informed me, ‘Oh sure, I met this tremendously energetic, lovely man who carried out for us.’ I mentioned ‘Who?,’ and she or he mentioned ‘Rod Stewart.’ And I mentioned ‘What? You met Rod Stewart and also you didn’t inform me!’”

“We’ve had a protracted involvement with the group and I do know that my grandmother could be very happy with all of us,” Leoni added, when requested what she thinks her grandmother would make of this particular occasion. “And I don’t imply all of us, our household. I imply if she had been searching her window in the present day, the best way that all of us now are this international neighborhood and taking good care of one another. That may impress her essentially the most I feel.”

“UNICEF Won’t Cease” will broadcast on Saturday, Might 9, at eight p.m. ET on www.unicefwontstop.org and completely streamed on NBC Information NOW, Peacock (Common’s streaming service), NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com.


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