A man who has dedicated his life to cleaning up the Mississippi River is the CNN Hero of the Year. Chad Pregracke of East Moline, Illinois received the honor last night at the event which was recorded for a CNN special to air Sunday, Dec. 1.
TVNewser was on the red carpet, which was swarming with both CNN and entertainment stars.
Piers Morgan told us how refreshing it is to cover everyday heroes vs. A-list celebrities: “They’re real people, and real people are always much more heroic than celebrities in my experience. They’re not surrounded by entourages, money, or glamor…they have to rely on their own big hearts and selflessness.”
Ashleigh Banfield said “Heroes” proves good news works on TV. “We’ve heard forever good news doesn’t sell… it clearly sells. This has done well for years, people love it…and it feels great.”
HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell told us the inspiration Heroes provides is like therapy for her: “We do see the worst in humanity so often…this is more of a reflection of what humanity really is. This restores my faith in humanity.”
We caught up with CNN anchor Don Lemon and asked him what to expect from his new limited run show at 11pm: “It’s going to be amazing. You’re going to want to watch it,” he said, adding “to have any time slot on CNN is a pretty big accomplishment.”
Rachel Nichols talked about the positive response she’s received on the return of sports to CNN via her show “Unguarded.”
“CNN used to have a lot of sports on it, and I think there’s a lot of CNN viewers who stayed loyal to CNN through the time when they didn’t, but who missed it,” she said. “I’m getting a lot of people saying to me ‘oh we’re so glad sports is back.'”
The evening’s celebrity presenters were Sarah Silverman, Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Mariska Hargitay, Alan Cumming, Allison Williams, Shay Mitchell, Jason Biggs, Jeffrey Wright, Josh Lucas, and Ne-Yo, each of whom introduced a story about the honorees.
(Photos: Dimitrios Kambouris and Theo Wargo)