By Paula Hendrickson
As usual, I won’t be watching “the big game” (which is how Super Bowl organizers prefer anyone who isn’t an Official Sponsor to refer to the game). Why not? I don’t like sports and have better things to do with my time. Like watching puppies frolic across artificial turf in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl X.
I’m serious. After all, who can resist adorable fluffy puppies?
This is the 10th year the Puppy Bowl has helped bring awareness to animal shelters across the country and encourage people to adopt shelter animals. Not just puppies — even the kittens in the Kitty Halftime show are shelter pets.
Last year, more than 12 million people watched at least part of Puppy Bowl. That’s a far cry from Super Bowl ratings, yet still amazing for any basic cable broadcast. The feat is even more impressive considering Puppy Bowl began as counter programming to one of the biggest television events of the year. It’s also a big draw for advertisers — not just pet stores, dog food and treats, but also carpet cleaners and stain-resistant flooring.
After a decade of success, competitors are finally taking notice. This year, Hallmark Channel and NatGeo Wild have upped the stakes with Kitten Bowl and Fish Bowl, respectively. Like Puppy Bowl, the feline-focused Kitten Bowl has cute, furry pets romping on a fake football field and promotes pet adoption. But Fish Bowl takes its name more literally.
Fish Bowl is play-by-play coverage of a goldfish named Goldie (of course) swimming along, enjoying life and encountering various aquarium obstacles like the dreaded miniature scuba diver. You’ve got to admit, it makes sense that Fish Bowl is from the same network that airs Fish Tank Kings.
Kittens are every bit as adorable as puppies, but they don’t have the variety in size and shape as puppies do. I love watching the larger puppies stomp around the playing field, unaware they’re so much bigger than some of the pups chasing them. I also love Water Bowl Cam footage of puppy paws splashing in the water. Even so, I’ll check out the competition and watch at least a few minutes of Kitten Bowl and Fish Bowl because to a sports hater like me, anything is better than football — even watching a goldfish swim.
To be totally honest, the only reason I ever know it’s Super Bowl Sunday is because the Puppy Bowl is on.
Meet the contenders:
Check out the Puppy Bowl starting line-up at http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/photos/x-starting-lineup.htm.
Kitten Bowl’s players are equally adorable: http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/kittenbowl/bear.
Learn about Fish Bowl’s Goldie and her environment here: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/fish-bowl/.
Kitten Bowl airs Sunday, Feb. 2, at 11 a.m. Central on Hallmark Channel. It repeats all day.
Puppy Bowl airs Sunday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. Central on Animal Planet. It also repeats all day.
Fish Bowl airs Sunday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. Central on NatGeo Wild, and repeats as well.
From the Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2014, issue