The live broadcast of Lead with Love 5 Year Anniversary Special, presented by City National Bank proved to be a spectacular victory on Saturday, June 22, 2024. It surpassed its $800,000 goal with a total of $821,759 marking the fifth year in a row that the telethon’s goal was met. The two-hour event aired live on KTLA 5.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass opened the show with a very important message about the significance of Project Angel Food to the community, followed by Grammy-winner Thelma Houston who kicked off the night with “Love Train,” while Emmy-winner Jean Smart made a rare television appearance as well Kelly Clarkson, who had appeared the first Lead with Love in 2020. The night was filled with fan favorites, celebrity messages, an All-Star Phone Bank of celebrities taking donor calls, and musical performances. It was a night about community, commitment and caring.

Chicago Med star Steven Weber returned along with KTLA Morning News anchor Jessica Holmes to host the annual televised event and were joined by Loni Love and Alec Mapa who also returned as dynamic co-hosts.

Highlights included:

  • Jessica Holmes paid tribute to the late Sam Rubin as KTLA dedicated a day of meals in his honor. Rubin’s wife Leslie and daughter Darcy were in the audience and acknowledged by Holmes, who shared a hug.
  • Tony-Award Winner Jason Alexander and Steven Weber performed a musical spoof of their friendship, rewriting the lyrics of “Bosom Buddies” from the Broadway Musical, “Mame.”
  • Kathy Griffin, who is under doctor’s orders not to speak made, her first post-vocal cord surgery appearance, with a visible under on her throat, had Steven Weber read her remarks from cue-cards. It was comedically uncomfortable Steven giving voice to lines like, “It so was important to be here that neither my vocal cord surgery nor my vaginal rejuvenation procedure could keep me away.”
  • Lori Loughlin and John Stamos demonstrated their friendship and comradery in a recorded message about Lori’s three years of delivering meals with Project Angel Food with John saying he’d come and volunteer if they had angel food cake.
  • “Cuchi-Cuchi Cha-Ching” Charo, infused the night with energy taking donations from the “All-Star Phone Bank” to the “Love Wall” for Loni Love to add to the growing tally. She even gave her skirt to Bobby Heller, after he donated $1,500 to the night.
  • Knot’s Landing stars Donna Mills, Michele Lee, and Joan Van Ark arrived in matching white suits and were introduced by “Phone Bank All-Stars” Alec Mapa, Charo, Vivica A. Fox, Amanda Kloots, Elayne Boosler, Vincent Rodriguez, Michael McDonald, Lawrence Zarian, Gregory Zarian, and drag sensation Jackie Beat in a hysterical, rapid-fire, over-the-top recap of the top-rated primetime soap opera. Flirty and Fun Jackée Harry also appeared talking about the importance of caring for our community.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis, Project Angel Food Founder Marianne Williamson and Sheryl Lee Ralph appeared to talk about Project Angel Food’s expansion project and the need for volunteers.
  • Celebrating the fifth anniversary of Lead with Love, “5 Year Flashback” moments showcased highlights from past shows with Oprah, Carol Burnett, Magic Johnson and performances from Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and others.

Executive produced by Emmy-winning television veteran Brad Bessey, along with Michael Levitt, Richard Ayoub, KTLA’s Marcus Smith and Jacob Burch the live two-hour fundraising special was jam-packed with surprises, fun flashbacks, energy and fun. Mark McBride was executive producer, sponsorships.

Bessey said, "This show was everything we hoped for – live television without a net. We wanted to create a party atmosphere, filled with humor and heart, and we pulled it off thanks to iconic celebrities, the best hosts in the business with Steven, Jessica, Loni and Alex, Jason Alexander, mystery guests and an All-Star Phone Bank that came to play, and Sarah Potenza blowing us away! Brilliant team on camera and behind the scenes.”  

The All-Star Phone Bank, emceed by Mapa, created the most unpredictable and entertaining segments of the night with Elayne Boosler, Jackie Beat, Vivica A. Fox, Amanda Kloots, Michael McDonald, Vincent Rodriguez, Lawrence Zarian and Gregory Zarian talking to donors throughout the night and creating comedy chaos along the way.

In addition to the Alexander and Weber duet, Deborah Cox, performed “Home” from The Wiz, Jewel sang “Hands,” Ziggy Marley sang “One Love,” David Archuleta performed his new single “Hell Together,” and America’s Got Talent show-stopper Sarah Potenza, with musical director Michael Orland, and the Fifth Avenue Choir sang “Rise Up,” and then closed the show with Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”

Celebrity messages flooded in from supporters including LA Mayor Karen Bass, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kelly Clarkson, Jean Smart, Eric McCormack, k.d. lang, Kristin Chenoweth, Melody Thomas Scott, New Kids on the Block, and Project Angel Food founder Marianne Williamson.

Reflecting on five years of fundraising, Ayoub remarked, “It is truly heartening to witness the proactive response of the city as it rallies to support us. This event has significantly advanced Project Angel Food's mission, enabling us to provide medically tailored meals to thousands of people who need us most.”

Donations are still being accepted for Lead with Love 5 at

Sponsors for Lead with Love 5 presented by City National Bank include City National Bank, the Herb Ritts Foundation, Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel, Ralphs•Food 4 Less, The Kroger Co., The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, Mary Fisher, Michael J. Libow, L.A. Care Health Plan, Victoria Principal, Michael Willard, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Maureen & Paul Rubeli Foundation, Retrouvé and W Hollywood.

Project Angel Food nourishes the well-being and spirit of vulnerable people facing critical and life-threatening illness, by preparing and delivering medically tailored meals with love, care and dignity. More than 2,700 vulnerable Angelenos are fed daily, with more than 1.5 million meals delivered each year — 18 million in its 35-year history.



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