Since debuting on U.S. television in 2015, Red Nose Day has been all about celebrities giving back to those in need, raising over $60 million for children’s charities worldwide. But this year, the telethon is also giving back to the audience with an even bigger Red Nose Day programming block. First, a charity episode of American Ninja Warrior airs at 8/7c and features Derek Hough, Stephen Amell and other stars testing their physical limits against the reality show’s unforgiving obstacle course. Then, at 9/8c, Julia Roberts—yes, that Julia Roberts—and adventurer Bear Grylls head to Kenya for a special Running Wild With Bear Grylls. “People have been working on this night all year,” says Richard Curtis, who cocreated Red Nose Day in 1988 before going on to direct films like Notting Hill and Love Actually. “It’s like a second job for me.”
Writer/director Richard Curtis and most of the original cast will show us what the characters of the beloved 2003 film are up to in 2017.
At 10/9c, Chris Hardwick hosts the annual live show from Rockefeller Plaza featuring performances, comedy sketches and the most anticipated moment of the evening: a pretaped reunion of the cast of Love Actually that fans of the romantic comedy have been clamoring for ever since it premiered back in 2003. In the short, “Red Nose Day Actually,” (from top left) Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Liam Neeson, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Bill Nighy and more (including Hugh Grant, Laura Linney and Colin Firth) reprise their roles to show what their lovelorn characters have been up to in the intervening 14 years.
Spoiler alert: Even though Grant’s British prime minister has had a few political ups and downs since the original film, he still hasn’t lost any of his rhythm. (One of the classic moments from the movie is when Grant’s character shakes it to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump for My Love”.) “Hugh will be dancing again,” confirms Curtis. “He enjoyed doing it as little this time as he did the last time. He has what he calls a ‘left brain, right brain’ problem. He likes to dance and wants to obey my orders as a director, but he finds it very difficult to do at the same time. Strangely, 14 years doesn’t change people as much as you’d think it would. We assumed that we’d all be coming in our wheelchairs!”
Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 25, 8/7c, NBC