NEW YORK – Jerry Lewis (search) is feeling much better these days — and expects to log more airtime during this year's annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.
"He'll do at least as much as he did last year, and he'll try to do more," Bob Mackle, a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (search) said yesterday. "It depends on how he's doing.
"Jerry's lost 65 pounds, which is improving his endurance and making him feel better."
Lewis, 78, will be hosting his 39th consecutive televised MDA Telethon. He's battled various medical problems the last several years including spinal meningitis and pulmonary fibrosis in his lungs.
Lewis took steroids for the fibrosis, causing his weight to balloon dramatically and resulting in his developing diabetes.
He has since weaned himself off the steroids and lost a lot of weight in the process.
Last year, Lewis hosted the first three-to-four hours of the telethon, then came back in mid-morning the next day (Labor Day) to host the rest of the show, which raised a record $60.5 million.
"The morning is the tricky part," Mackle said. "He could be back on at 9 or 11 a.m."
Mackle said Lewis will be seated behind the desk he added about three years ago. "He doesn't have to use it but he likes the format," he said.
This year's show kicks off Sunday, Sept. 5 at 9 on Ch. 9 with co-hosts Ed McMahon, Jann Carol, Norm Crosby, Cynthia Garrett and Tony Orlando (search).
Guests include Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Elton John (search) and country singer Julie Roberts.