Monday, January 12, 2009

Rookie Shelter Pups Open their Playbook for Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl V

/PRNewswire/ -- If your favorite team's season went to the dogs this year, Animal Planet has some new recruits that are ready for their chance to conquer the pigskin -- or a chew toy -- in PUPPY BOWL V. The yearly canine competition is back as a new cast of pups takes the field for another year of dogged defense, puppy penalties and fido first downs. The action takes place on the grand gridiron of Animal Planet Stadium, where an all-star, all-"adoptable" lineup of rambunctious pups is ready to compete in the ultimate puppy showdown. This year, every puppy featured in PUPPY BOWL V is recruited from a local shelter, so these pooches are free agents looking for a good home. Plus, while the big guys are listening to "The Boss" at halftime, PUPPY BOWL has once again enlisted the help of some frisky kittens for an all-new edition of the KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW. Make your fantasy picks now because PUPPY BOWL V premieres Sunday, February 1, from 3-5 PM (ET/PT).

Straight from local shelters, this year's puppy starting line-up is filled with hustling huskies and tackling terriers that are ready for action as they vie for the title of MVP (Most Valuable Puppy). Returning to give viewers a play-by-play commentary is world renowned Harry Kalas, voice of NFL Films and the Philadelphia Phillies, whose legendary voice brings even more intensity to this already feisty rivalry. And in recognition of Puppy Bowl's fifth anniversary, we look back on some of the best puppy plays through the years.

"Super Bowl fans are used to cable cams and slow motion instant replays," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media. "But only Animal Planet viewers can get up-close and personal with our adorable puppy players through our innovative water bowl cam. And they may have 'The Boss,' but we have 'Pepper the Parrot' and the KITTEN HALF TIME SHOW for our entertainment."

PUPPY BOWL V cameras catch all of the exhilarating action as the puppies pounce and play against one another, mimicking the rough-and-tumble moves of the NFL. However, with all the excitement, players sometimes can get out of line, which is why PUPPY BOWL is equipped with instant replays and "puppy penalties" doled out by our veteran PUPPY BOWL referee, Andrew Schechter. He knows the puppy rules like the back of his hand, and he's not afraid to assess penalties when the players commit an infraction. This year, he even has to reign in an overzealous puppy fan that "streaks" the field.

"I think we all have a calling," says Andrew. "Some of us are firemen; some are policemen. I am a ref. I referee little, cute, adorable puppies pretending to play football for people's enjoyment. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it."

To kick start this year's sports extravaganza is "Pepper the Parrot," singing a unique rendition of the National Anthem. Then at halftime, the frisky felines are back for the KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW. The lively kittens once again show off their moves on a glittery stage while swooning fans enjoy their rocking halftime performance. These tiny tabbies and cuddly calicos prove that watching curious kittens bat around a toy mouse is all the entertainment you need.

All of the charming canines featured in PUPPY BOWL V come from regionally based shelters, including Furry Friends Network, Paw-fect Match Rescue and the SPCA of Anne Arundel County (Maryland). Viewers who are interested in adopting from a shelter in their area can visit PETFINDER.COM, the best online resource for finding adoptable pets.

To learn more about PUPPY BOWL V, visit our electronic press kit for videos on the training regimen and history of our referee Andrew Schechter: http://press.discovery.com/ekits/puppybowl2009/. Plus, fans can visit AnimalPlanet.com for a list of the top five PUPPY BOWL moments and a chance to vote for this year's MVP (Most Valuable Puppy).

PUPPY BOWL V official sponsors include Pedigree, Bissell, SC Johnson and Disney's Space Buddies.

PUPPY BOWL V and the KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW are productions of Discovery Studios. For Discovery Studios, Rob Burk is the executive producer. Melinda Toporoff is the executive producer for Animal Planet.

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