John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, on CBS. The special also will be telecast at a later date on ViacomCBS brands BET, MTV and Smithsonian, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The special will feature musical performances, newsmaker interviews and conversations.
Lewis, a civil rights icon who helped organize the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., and served in Congress for decades, died July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer at age 80.
The special will examine Lewis’ life, his work and the principles that guided him. It will feature performances by Yolanda Adams, Jon Batiste, Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Trevor Noah, Billy Porter and Wynonna.
“John Lewis was an extraordinary man,” said Winfrey. “A man of great vision who lived a life with the purpose of making sure America lived out its ideals.”
Added Perry: “This is a celebration of the ‘boy from Troy’ — a forefather of the civil rights movement, who would live to see his contributions for equality result in witnessing the swearing in of the first Black United States president.”
Said King: “His commitment to the cause was unwavering, his sacrifices immeasurable. And he should forever be remembered in the ‘pantheon of patriots.’”
Said Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer of CBS News: “Congressman Lewis was one of the most prominent and forceful voices for change in this country. Losing that voice now is so difficult as the country confronts structural racism. But John Lewis gave us the will and the way to continue his work. This special reminds us the journey will not be easy, and there’s no turning back.”
John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero is produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment in association with CBS News. Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon, Winfrey, Perry, Susan Zirinsky, Jack Sussman and Kim Godwin are executive producers. For CBS News, Alvin Patrick, Judy Tygard and Mitch Weitzner are executive producers.