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Friday, May 24, 2024

Cable Firm Scores in Kitten Bowl

For Crown Media Holdings Inc., Feb. 2 really was a Su-Purr Bowl Sunday. The Studio City cable company’s inaugural Kitten Bowl succeeded in the cuteness category – while meeting some hardnosed marketing objectives. So what’s a Kitten Bowl? Try 71 rescue kittens divided into four teams competing against each other with hurdles, tunnels, hoops, jumps, weave poles, lasers, lures and toys on strings. The idea was the brainchild of Crown Chief Executive Bill Abbott, and it’s not as outlandish as it seems. Discovery Communication’s Animal Planet channel has aired a similar Puppy Bowl – with dog-specific challenges – since 2005. And while the dogs beat the kittens in the ratings this time around, the felines put in a respective showing on Crown’s Hallmark Channel. The inaugural three-hour show attracted a total of 6.1 million viewers during its four consecutive broadcasts on Super Bowl Sunday, compared to a total of 13.5 million views for the Puppy Bowl over its 12-hour run. Abbott, is interested in pet adoptions, said the publicity generated by the show exceeded his expectations. “It was remarkable that the interest was extremely high,” he said. Filming took place over three days in a New York City studio with Beth Stern as host and John Sterling, radio broadcaster for the New York Yankees, doing the play-by-play joined by special guests. Abbott attended the filming and said the playful nature of kittens made it easy to capture stunts. “You put them out there and they were on fire,” he said. The kittens were supplied by two New York animal rescue organizations, North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation in Wantagh. All have since been adopted. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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