Stars align for telethon to aid US veterans

LOS ANGELES — Connie Francis, Alan Alda and Joe Montegna are joining forces to help raise money for veterans suffering the wounds of war.

The trio will host the Homeward Bound telethon to benefit victims of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The four-hour event, airing at 7 p.m. Sunday on the Military Channel, is a fundraiser for several charities.

Other celebrities set to participate include Mark Harmon and other “NCIS” cast members, Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gloria Loring and James Brolin. Scheduled performers include the American Military Spouses Choir, Patti Austin, Michael Feinstein, Ben Vereen and Steve Tyrell.

“This is a 45-year-old dream for me,” said Francis, who entertained troops during the Vietnam War. A telethon was needed then but the social climate wasn’t receptive to aiding veterans, the singer-actress said.

The Homeward Bound telethon came together after she gave a speech two years ago criticizing the lack of help for injured veterans and caught the attention of businessman Leonard Wilf, an owner of the Minnesota Vikings NFL team, Francis said.

Money raised by the telethon will be donated to charities that provide services and support to servicemen and women and their family members coping with war’s aftermath, including the American Red Cross and Wounded Warrior Project, telethon organizers said.

Gary Smith, whose credits include the Tony and Emmy Awards ceremonies, is the executive producer.

The telethon will also stream live online and be rebroadcast on the Armed Forces Network on Veterans Day on Monday.

www.homewardboundtelethon.org

History network in deal to remake ‘Roots’

NEW YORK — A remake of the groundbreaking television miniseries “Roots” is in the works at the History network.

The network said recently that it had reached a deal with Mark Wolper, whose father, David, made the 1977 “Roots” miniseries, to acquire the rights to remake it.

The project is in development, meaning there’s a possibility it won’t be made, but the commitment makes it likely the new series will appear some time in 2015.

The first “Roots” series was a television sensation, gripping the country with its story of generations of a slave family.

History has been particularly successful with miniseries lately, including “The Bible” and “Hatfields & McCoys.”

Associated Press