By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 25, 2001 12:05 PM
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The tally is in, and it’s an impressive one: Friday’s televised “America: A Tribute to Heroes,” starring some of the biggest names in show business, raised more than $150 million in pledges for victims of the Sept. 11 air attacks and their families, organizers said on Monday. The two-hour, commercial-free program aired on more than 35 U.S. broadcast and cable networks, the Web and 8,000 radio stations nationwide. It also was beamed to TV outlets in more than 210 countries and carried on the Armed Forces Network to U.S. military personnel stationed in 175 nations around the globe. The unprecedented simulcast drew an average U.S. TV audience of 59 million viewers, according to the latest figures from Nielsen Media Research. (That figure surpassed the 42.9 million viewers who tuned in to this year’s Oscars but was well below the 84.2 million drawn to this year’s Super Bowl.) The show, simulcast live without a studio audience from candle-lit sound stages in New York and Los Angeles (as well as some segments from London), opened with Bruce Springsteen singing “My City of Ruins,” followed by introductory remarks from Tom Hanks. Later on, Mariah Carey sang “Hero” in her first performance since suffering a breakdown in July, and Canadian-born songstress Celine Dion emerged from semi-retirement to sing a memorable rendition of “God Bless America.”