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ABC News Partnering with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Year-Long Health Series

First on TVNewser: ABC News is launching a multi-million dollar year-long series on global health, “Be the Change: Save a Life,” with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on board as sponsor.

The series will be featured across every ABC News program and platform, with coverage being led by “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and newly minted ABC News chief health & medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.

ABC News is investing $4.5 million into the series, with the gates Foundation providing an additional $1.5 million to offset overseas production costs and travel. A spokesperson for ABC News says the news division will have complete editorial control over coverage, and will note where the sponsorship money is being used on-air.

“Be the Change: Save a Life” will kick off in December and run through 2011.

Update: It’s official, more information and a quote from ABC News president David Westin after the jump.

“We are, as always, committed to in-depth reporting on the global issues that matter to our audience — and health is a topic that touches every human being in the world,” said ABC News President David Westin. “Support from the Gates Foundation will help us, literally, go that extra mile; we can cover the stories that ABC News is passionate about, stories that will connect our American audience with the struggles and solutions of families and doctors all over the planet, from Africa to South America to Asia. And, even more important, we can offer people the opportunity to get involved and truly save a life.”

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