January 12, 2005 08:00 AM

They may not be as hot a duo as Andre 3000 and Big Boi, but George Clooney and Bill O’Reilly are now set to join each other as presenters – appearing separately, from different coasts – during NBC’s Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope on behalf of the Red Cross on Saturday.

The New York-based FOX News commentator and the L.A.-based Ocean’s Twelve actor had continued their long-running feud this week, picking up on O’Reilly’s post-9/11 criticism of celebrities like Clooney who, the commentator editorialized, don’t follow through on where their fundraising efforts go. Clooney fired back, asking O’Reilly to join him on the televised benefit.

“We’re not playing games here, we’re trying to save lives,” Clooney wrote in an open letter to O’Reilly. “It’s as simple as this; you’re either with this joint effort or against it. We need an answer immediately. … This is your chance to put your considerable money where your considerable mouth is.”

On Tuesday, on his syndicated radio show, O’Reilly accepted the challenge – rather, the invitation.

“All right, even as we speak, NBC has faxed us over this information that all of the money that you donate to the telethon on Saturday night is going to the American Red Cross – all of it. That’s good. I like that. So I’m gonna go over and do it,” O’Reilly said, according to published accounts.

On his TV show, The O’Reilly Factor, the FOX newsman noted that he and Clooney would not be appearing together on the Saturday event. “We’ll just have to continue being long-distance pen pals,” said O’Reilly, “although he’s welcome on The Factor anytime.”

Besides Clooney and O’Reilly, the telethon – which has been expanded to two hours and starts at 8 p.m. – will also feature appearances by Renee Zellweger, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ray Romano, Clint Eastwood, Meg Ryan, Morgan Freeman, Usher, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Halle Berry, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J. Blige, Norah Jones, Brian Wilson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Sarah McLachlan, Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, India.Arie, Nelly, Gloria Estefan and others.

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