|United Negro College Fund’s AN EVENING OF STARS
® TRIBUTE TO ARETHA FRANKLIN
GENERATES LARGEST AUDIENCE IN THE 28 YEAR HISTORY
OF THE SHOW
Fantasia sang "Rock
Steady Baby" and
"Mama", saying "I
love you mama", at
the end of the song.
brought tears to
Aretha's eyes singing
sister Carolyn penned
smash hit for both of
photo courtesy UNCF.
FAIRFAX, Va.March 26, 2007 - More than three
million households tuned in to watch the United
Negro College Fund’s (UNCF), An Evening of
Stars® (AEOS) Tribute to Aretha Franklin,
generating the show’s largest audience to date.
The annually-televised variety special earned an
outstanding 2.8 “live” national Nielsen rating,
which represents 3,170,000 households
watching the program, an 88 percent increase
from the previous year. A “live” rating
corresponds to the actual number of viewers
who watched the program when it aired.
“I am thrilled to learn the ratings for my UNCF
tribute were the biggest in the history of this most
prestigious and caring institution. It was truly a
touching and memorable presentation and
tribute that I will always cherish and remember.
Many thanks and kudos to all of the artists who
participated, producer Louis J. Horvitz, UNCF
and most importantly my fans and the viewers
who took the ratings over the top," said Franklin.
“The size of this year’s audience is a tribute to Aretha Franklin and all the stars who
brightened up the AEOS stage,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO of UNCF.
“Thanks to all of them, more viewers than ever before had a chance to hear about the great
work our 39 member colleges are doing and the education that our 65,000 students are
getting. On their behalf, I thank Ms. Franklin and her friends for lending their talent to UNCF
and AEOS, and I thank everybody who tuned in to watch and learn.”
The increased ratings for the 3-hour
special were built on the strong line-
up of talent that has become a
hallmark of both AEOS and its
executive producer Louis J. Horvitz. A
five-time Emmy-award winning
producer, Horvitz is in his tenth year
with AEOS. Before becoming
executive producer, Horvitz directed
UNCF’s Lou Rawls Parade of Stars®
for 12 years. Horvitz’s numerous
producing and directing credits
include The Academy Awards, The
American Film Institute (AFI), The
PrimeTime Emmy Awards, and The
Kennedy Center Honors. The
program featured performances by
some of Hollywood’s biggest stars,
including Oscar and Golden Globe
winning actress-singer Jennifer
Hudson and recent Kennedy Center
honoree Smokey Robinson.
In one of his last national appearan-
ces before his death, Atlantic
Recordsfounder and Franklin
mentor, Ahmet Ertegun also paid
tribute to Franklin. National sponsors
for the tribute were American Airlines,
McDonald’s, Prudential Financial,
Target, Toyota and Wachovia.
As the nation’s oldest and most
successful minority higher education
assistance organization, the United
Negro College Fund’s mission is to
provide financial support to its 39
member institutions and increase
minority degree attainment. Today,
UNCF supports more than 65,000
students at over 900 colleges and
universities across the country.