The MDA Show of Strength is an annual televised benefit concert that is held each Labor Day Weekend in the United States to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The program is the successor to the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, an annual telethon that ran until 2010.
The history of MDA's telethon dates back to the 1950s, when the Jerry Lewis Thanksgiving Party for MDA raised funds for the organization's New York City area operations. The telethon has been held annually on Labor Day weekend since 1966, and has raised $2.45 billion for MDA from its inception through 2009.
The telethon was founded by actor and comedian Jerry Lewis, who hosted the broadcast from its 1966 inception until 2010.
For its first 44 years from 1966 to 2010, the telethon aired up to 21½ hours, starting on the Sunday evening preceding Labor Day and continuing until late Monday afternoon on the holiday itself. MDA called its network of participating stations the "Love Network". The show originated from Las Vegas for 28 of the years it was broadcast. In 2011, it was seen exclusively on the Sunday evening before Labor Day for six hours; This edition, syndicated to approximately 160 television stations throughout the United States on September 4, 2011, was also the first edition without Jerry Lewis as host. Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O'Dell, all who were originally tapped to co-host the telethon with Lewis, shared hosting duties for the 2011 edition.