December 05, 2001 07:20 PM

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN and the WB have gone to war. That is, they are producing a series of all-star public service announcements for the holidays. The messages go beyond season’s greetings, however, expressing support for America’s armed forces, network executives said on Tuesday. One example: “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Ray Romano opens his spot by saying, “This is a holiday salute to our brave troops overseas,” to which costar Patricia Heaton adds, “You do us all proud.” ABC star Drew Carey salutes the USO, while other network luminaries talk about the Red Cross, the United Nations and groups raising money for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. NBC’s effort features the casts of “The West Wing” and “Third Watch” (a series about New York’s police and firefighters). Also due to film greetings for the troops are the stars of UPN shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “WWF Smackdown” and “Enterprise.” And the messages don’t stop at American shores: Reuters reports that a newly formed panel of about 40 studio and network executives is planning a possible U.S. public relations campaign with special foreign-language TV ads to run overseas, particularly in the Middle East. Working with the execs is Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti, whose spokesman said, “We’re looking at delivering messages into the Arab world in the native tongues of the countries that we’re trying to reach.”

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