On last night's American Idol results show, host Ryan Seacrest confirmed that the Idol Gives Back fundraising effort has raised almost $70 million to-date for programs to help people in extreme poverty in America and Africa. Seacrest first announced the total on Tuesday's performance show after acknowledging the musical performers, actors and comedians who donated their time to Idol Gives Back. In addition, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush appeared in a special video on Tuesday night to commend and thank the celebrity participants, contestants, viewers and corporate sponsors for their respective contributions to the success of Idol Gives Back.

With donations still flowing in, viewers have pledged over $50 million; corporate sponsors have contributed $14 million; and matching funds raised on behalf of Nothing But Nets and Malaria No More bring the grand total to almost $70 million. Former American Idol winners Ruben Studdard, Fantasia and Taylor Hicks appeared on last night's show to urge continued support of Idol Gives Back. Donations will be accepted through Thursday, May 31, via the Internet at www.Americanidol.com and by telephone at 1-877-IDOL-AID (1-877-436-5243).

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Said Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol: "Idol Gives Back has been another amazing chapter in the history of American Idol. The generosity and support of the American public has been truly outstanding. I am proud to have been able to give the power and reach of American Idol to Richard Curtis and the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund to enable him to assist so many worthwhile causes both here in the USA and in Africa. This remarkable achievement hopefully will enable the launch of a stand-alone event in the coming years to expand upon this important beginning."

"The response of the American public to Idol Gives Back has been overwhelming," said Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp. "We're proud that we were able to participate in this great statement of caring, and gratified that the power of American Idol has worked to help so many who need it most."

The corporate sponsors of Idol Gives Back were led by News Corporation, Ford, Coca-Cola and AT&T. Allstate and ConAgra have made matching contributions to Save the Children and America's Second Harvest, respectively, via the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF).

In addition, Ford has contributed generously by producing a very special music video featuring the Top 6 finalists. This video, along with a unique version of "Stayin' Alive" and Carrie Underwood performing "I'll Stand By You," are available for download on iTunes along with other music segments from the broadcast. Proceeds from the downloads will be contributed to Idol Gives Back. Additional matched contributions will be donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Nothing But Nets and by ExxonMobil to Malaria No More.

CPEF is a new charitable organization established to raise money and awareness to help combat extreme poverty in the U.S. and throughout the world, particularly in Africa. CPEF's mission is to use the power of entertainment to drive positive change to achieve its vision of creating a just world free from poverty. CPEF is inspired and supported by the UK charity that invented Red Nose Day.

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