CNN Reups On Populist Awards Show Extravaganza

cooper100908 CNN Reups On Populist Awards Show ExtravaganzaGet psyched for hero-palooza 2008!

Today, CNN executives announced the lineup for their second annual populist awards show, which will be hosted by Anderson Cooper from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and air on the cable news network’s multiple platforms the night of Thanksgiving.

The event celebrates the achievements of "ordinary citizens accomplishing extraordinary deeds." The winners are determined in part by ordinary citizens with Internet access. The whole hero-fest jives with CNN’s populist drift in recent years (see Dobbs, Lou; audience reaction meters on debate nights; CNN’s iReport; etc).

More from the release:

Award-winning producer/director Joel Gallen returns to executive produce the program. Celebrity presenters and performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes, as selected by the Blue Ribbon Panel, were unveiled this morning by Cooper on CNN’s American Morning, and their profiles are available at www.CNN.com/heroes The public will then select the "CNN Hero of the Year" via voting at the CNN Heroes site from now through Wednesday, Nov. 19. At the November gala, CNN will honor the 10 heroes and reveal the CNN Hero of the Year, who will receive an additional $100,000. In its second year, the multiplatform initiative received nearly 4,000 submissions from 75 countries.

"It is rewarding to be able to honor these amazing, often unheralded individuals who are making a difference in their communities and beyond," said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide. "These stories of selfless achievement deserve to be told, and we are pleased to share them with our audiences around the world."

This year’s Blue Ribbon Panel judges include: Queen Rania Al Abdullah, founder of the Jordan River Foundation; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder and chair of This World: The Jewish Values Network; Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of Virgin Group; Deepak Chopra, doctor, philosopher, author and speaker; Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Earvin "Magic" Johnson, founder and chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation; George Lopez, comedian, actor and founder of The George & Ann Lopez-Richie Alarcon CARE Foundation; Holly Robinson Peete, activist and advocate through the HollyRod Foundation; Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute and co-founder and president of the Millennium Promise Alliance; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Kristi Yamaguchi, founder of The Always Dream Foundation.