Emmy Award-Winning Journalist & Host Maria Menounos and Her Dog Whinnie Team up to Encourage Dog Owners to Join Purina’s #DogThanking Movement.
MARIA MENOUNOS, Emmy Award-winning journalist and host of Apple Podcast “Conversations with Maria”
In celebration of the National Dog Show Presented by Purina and the Thanksgiving holiday, Purina invites dog lovers across the nation to share why they are thankful for their pet, using #DogThanking and tagging @Purina. This November, Purina wants to recognize the four-legged friends who make our lives so special, especially those pets that act as service animals to veterans across the country.
From November 9-25, for every unique post shared on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that includes @Purina and #DogThanking, Purina will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation’s Pets and Vets program. This amazing program helps pair shelter pets with veterans coping with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and other service-related challenges as they transition back to civilian life following their service. Additionally, through Veterans Day, the Purina Dog Chow Service Dog Salute campaign is also paying tribute to our armed forces and the loyal dogs that serve them by sharing their stories and donating up to $500,000.
The National Dog Show will premiere on Thanksgiving Day on NBC at noon in all time zones. In its 17th year, the show celebrates man’s best friend and continues an established family holiday tradition. The show will crown one of America’s great dogs as its 2018 champion, bringing canine competition and entertainment to more than 20 million viewers. More than 2,000 dogs representing more than 175 breeds will vie for Best in Show honors. Beloved TV personality John O’Hurley, best known as “J. Peterman” on Seinfeld, will serve as show co-host, along with veteran dog show analyst David Frei. NBC sports commentator Mary Carillo will also be participating as a National Dog Show correspondent.
MORE ABOUT MARIA MENOUNOS:
As a journalist, Emmy Award Winner, Maria Menounos, holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only interview with the entire Obama family: an interview touted by ABC News as the top defining moments leading to Obama’s victory. Maria’s achievements have thus far set numerous like industry milestones. Her groundbreaking conversational style of reporting led her, at the age of 22, to become the youngest person ever to host “Entertainment Tonight.” She would go on to do the same for the “Today” show and “Nightly News" AND become the first person in the history of Hollywood to report for network news and star in a wide-release feature film. Currently, Maria hosts the leading female Apple Podcast, 'Conversations with Maria!’ Maria is also THE most viewed face in all of American cinema as Host and Producer of NCM's 'Noovie', the cinema pre-show seen daily, before each and every feature, on 70% of America's movie screens.
Event Date: March 4-5, 2017
Hosted by: The Kennel Club of Beverly Hills
Location: Fairplex in Pomona, California
Telecast Dates: April 16, 2017 8-10PM PT/ET USA Network
The Easter telecast will be taped and produced from the Saturday show.
Re-broadcasts: April 17 on USA Network and April 23 on NBC Times TBD
Talent: John O’Hurley (Host)
David Frei (Analyst)
Mary Carillo (Features and reporter)
Tara Lipinski (Features and Red Carpet Host)
Johnny Weir (Features and Red Carpet Host)
More stars: Stars from NBCUniversal Entertainment’s biggest television hits are expected to be on hand to share top billing with the beloved four-legged stars of this show.
Produced by NBC Sports, the same production team that produces the National Dog Show presented by Purina on Thanksgiving Day. USA Network produced the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for 25 years through 2016.
Tentative features for the broadcast: A number of features that depict dogs in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Universal Studios:
- Handler Makeover
- Working dogs in Hollywood
- Dogs in Universal Studios themed sections
- Dogs shopping on Rodeo Drive
New format for Best in Show: Group winners will walk red carpet in “Fashion Show” finale
Charity partner: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Therapy Dog Program (www.chla.org). The Amerman Family Dog Therapy Program at CHLA will receive $1 from every ticket sale.
Social Media: Facebook Live with talent
Behind the scenes with Snapchat
Twitter Mirror on the Red Carpet
Digital: Show will have a robust digital website that will have full group video, behind the scenes clips, extra features and VOD offerings
NATIONAL DOG SHOW THERAPY DOG AMBASSADOR TEAM ADDS FOUR NEW MEMBERS FOR 2016
Philadelphia, PA— The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s Therapy Dog Ambassador Team will add four new members in 2016, with Aladdin, Butler, Xena and Willow joining the five returnees from last year.
This seven-year tradition now brings together a dynamic team of nine canines, who make regular visits to hospitals and healthcare facilities, including the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, where they help to comfort patients and their families. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Shows involve the canine stars as members of its Therapy Dog Ambassador Team to promote the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and the annual dog shows hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia each November.
The 2016 National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team includes:
v Lil’ Abner, age 6, and Stella, age 8, are Dogues de Bordeux who together create a memorable 280-pound experience whenever they walk into a room. Lil’Abner won a blue Ribbon in the novice Dogue de Bordeaux class at the 2011 National Dog Show. Abner and Stella are owned by Steven & Donna Kramer of Langhorne, and Steven is a certified evaluator for Therapy Dog International.
v Waylon, age 11, is a Belgian Sheepdog and son of the late, former Therapy Dog Ambassador, Eli. He is a retired show dog and visits each summer at the Ronald McDonald Camp in the Poconos. He is owned and handled by Sherry Hanley of Allentown, a retired Lehigh County deputy sheriff.
v Vivian, age 6, is a Staffordshire Terrier mix who was named the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union’s Neighborhood Hero for 2014. She spent time with the New Leash on Life USA program, being socialized by incarcerated individuals before their release back into society. Vivian is owned and handled by Michele Pich, a grief counselor at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine, who has been directing the VetPets Animal-Assisted Activities program at the Ronald McDonald House since 2010.
v Benny, age 2, is a 57- pound English Bulldog who regularly visits the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House as well as St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Along with Abner and Stella, Benny is owned by Steven & Donna Kramer.
v Aladdin, age 5, has been recognized by American Humane Hero Dog Awards and was a finalist in the Hero Dog of the Year in Therapy category. He is the ambassador for nationwide animal abuse campaign Show Your Soft Side. Aladdin is owned by Michele Shaffer-Stevens, who is chairperson of the National Dog Show Gala organizing committee.
v Xena, age 3, Shih Tzu – Yorkie mix and Willow, age 2, rescued Shih Tzu – Poodle mix. They visit the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House on a weekly basis and are also active members of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Pet Therapy program. They also make home visits to kids in hospice care. Xena and Willow are owned and handled by Emily Martin of Philadelphia, PA.
v Butler, age 4, Shepherd mix, is a spokesdog for American Humane Association and the official therapy dog of The Weather Channel. Butler serves as a first responder for both organizations, providing comfort to children and families whose lives have been adversely affected by disaster. He was rescued from a shelter by owner and handler Dr. Amy McCullough, national director of Humane Research and Therapy for American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization.
The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team was founded by the late Rufus, the accomplished, Colored Bull Terrier who retired to a celebrated career as a therapy dog after winning the National Dog Show Presented by Purina in 2005 and following that up by triumphing at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show three months later in New York City. Rufus was joined two years later by the late Eli, the Belgian Sheepdog who showed in Philadelphia before retiring to therapy work. Eli was one of the last few living therapy dogs who comforted victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.
All nine dogs play a vital role in helping to make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to their weekly work at hospitals, nursing homes, and institutions, the Therapy Dog Ambassadors will be making therapy visits and media appearances in conjunction with National Dog Show activities in Philadelphia and New York City.
After 27 years of exploring the wonder of man’s best friend with millions of dog-loving television viewers around the world as the broadcast co-host, David Frei said goodbye to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this past February with nary a tinge of sadness or regret.
“The dog world is a big place,” Frei offers gleefully from his new home in Cannon Beach, Oregon. “Much bigger than when I started and growing still. And now I’m a part of guiding that growth for the good of the sport. This is that rare moment in time when I truly have the best of both worlds.”
One of those worlds is The National Dog Show Presented by Purina, the now 15 year-old NBC Thanksgiving Day special that has become appointment television for millions of families together for their traditional, November holiday celebration. Another is Frei’s newest challenge, The Beverly Hills Dog Show presented by Purina, a newly-minted endeavor hosted by the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills, headed for USA Network television screens in 2017 – on Easter Sunday.
Where he once had limitations about what he could and could not work on (Frei was also the fulltime Director of Communications for Westminster), he now has the freedom to survey the landscape, pick his spots and apply his decades of marketing, public relations and television knowledge to projects that embody his passion for pets.
As the expert analyst of The National Dog Show, he is known as the voice of the dog show world, but he recently hosted a cat show on the Hallmark Channel, The Kitten Summer Games. He is the executive in charge of the Beverly Hills project, able to marry his passion for the sport to its appeal to the masses through television. His newly-liberated schedule includes advocacy work as America’s leader in the growing therapy dog movement, judging at dog shows across the United States and appearing regularly as a spokesperson for the sport, responsible pet ownership and the importance of the human-animal bond.
“Anyone who spends time with dogs will tell you those are their best moments of the day,” Frei asserts. “I’ve seen miracles in hospital rooms when an ill child encounters the love, innocence and energy of a trained therapy dog. I get to work with dogs. I get to work with dog people. And I get to do it in new and different ways while continuing in my role as an on-air commentator talking directly to the audiences.”
Frei’s relationships in the dog world have been particularly useful as he develops this newest TV product with a celebrity component in America’s entertainment industry capital of Hollywood. John O’Hurley, the popular Seinfeld and Dancing With The Stars personality and host of The National Dog Show, lives in Beverly Hills and is playing a role in recruiting celebrity dog lovers for the project. Kennel Club of Beverly Hills officials are thrilled with the TV exposure on tap for their annual show and appreciate working with Frei, who speaks their language and understands the intricacies of producing the Best In Show competition among thousands of entrants encompassing more than 200 breeds and varieties.
“My dogs have changed my life,” Frei says. “And they have changed the lives of a lot of other people, too -- formally as therapy dogs but also informally, ‘on the street,’ through their spontaneity and unconditional love for everyone. I want to inspire people to get their own dogs out there doing something for people in need.
“The dogs are truly the stars in my world. And our shows on NBC and USA Network are truly a celebration of the dogs in our lives -- show dogs, therapy dogs, purebreds and mixed breeds. We should thank them every day for letting us be on the other end of their leashes.”
“David Frei unplugged,” the subject mused. “Okay. Unplugged. But with the electricity and excitement of our canine friends energizing me every day.”
About the Show
From the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and celebrating America's continued love of man's best friend, "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina" returns for its 14th year on NBC. Hosted by actor, author and Broadway star John O'Hurley, the event features 2,000 of the nation's leading canines from over 170 breeds (including the world's largest, smallest and most exotic) strutting their fur in the hopes of following in the pawsteps of Nathan the Bloodhound, last year's crowd-favorite top dog.
"The Dean" David Frei provides expert show commentary, and Mary Carillo chimes in as an adept sideline reporter for this ultimate canine showdown. But which dogs will have their day, and which will leave with their tails between their legs? After all, there can only be one "Best in Show."
Two-hour LIVE special
David Frei, one of the most authoritative voices in the dog show world, is a natural choice to serve as the expert analyst for NBC’s The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®.
An American Kennel Club (AKC)-licensed judge who has officiated dog shows all over the world, Frei has hosted USA Network’s coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from Madison Square Garden since 1990 and has a myriad of other television credits. He has co-hosted the National Dog Show since its inception in 2002.
In 2011, Frei published Angel on a Leash (BowTie Press), which tells of his years of experience and work with therapy dogs. His first book, The Angel By My Side (Hay House), published in 2002 with Mike Lingenfelter, tells the true story of the Delta Society Service Dog of the Year that helped save a man suffering from numerous heart complications. The book claimed two Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) awards in 2002.
In the dog show world, Frei has enjoyed much competitive success as a breeder/handler/owner of Afghan Hounds and Brittanys. Despite this competitive success, Frei is most proud of the work that his dogs do in therapy efforts, visiting patients and families at the Ronald McDonald House of New York and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Frei is the Director of Communications for the Westminster Kennel Club, and before that, was the Director of Media Relations for the American Kennel Club. He is the founder and chief executive of Angel on a Leash, a non-profit foundation that facilitates therapy dog visits to patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the country. He is a member of the Sports Council for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and volunteers at Transfiguration Church and School in New York’s Chinatown.
Frei has held public relations positions with the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and ABC-TV Sports in New York. He lives in New York City with his wife Cherilyn, the Chaplain and Director of Family Support at the Ronald McDonald House in New York.
ELITE COMPETITION, NEW BREEDS AND MORE
IN NATIONAL DOG SHOW PRESENTED BY PURINA®
THANKSGIVING DAY ON NBC FOLLOWING MACY’S PARADE
Holiday TV Special, Hosted by John O’Hurley & David Frei,
Also Airing Saturday Night in Primetime on NBC
New York, NY – The NBC Thanksgiving Day special, “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®,” will crown one of America’s great purebreds as its 2013 champion on Thanksgiving Day, bringing canine competition and entertainment into America’s living rooms for the 12th year.
The holiday special (noon-2 p.m. in all time zones) follows the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC and is watched annually by a total of almost 20 million viewers. Over 175 breeds vie for Best in Show honors in the tradition-rich Kennel Club of Philadelphia competition. An encore presentation will air on NBC in primetime on Saturday, November 30, from 8-10 p.m. ET.
“Families now know to find the National Dog Show Presented by Purina® on Thanksgiving Day at noon following the Macy’s Parade,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “With the encore presentation Saturday night, these great dogs get to show their stuff in primetime for the second consecutive year.”
The special is a celebration of America’s fascination with man’s best friend, hosted by beloved TV personality John O’Hurley, best known as “J. Peterman” on Seinfeld. O’Hurley is joined by expert analyst David Frei, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA Network and America’s foremost authority on the sport.
The National Dog Show also boasts a powerful online presence at www.NBCSports.com and at www.NationalDogShow.com. Because of heavy interest from breed enthusiasts around the world, those platforms offer a look at every dog in the group competition, featuring the walks and judging of all the breed-winning canines. The online video will include extensive highlights from the TV special and video from the 11 past Best in Show winners. The sites will also feature behind the scenes photos and video, capturing all of the backstage energy generated by 1,500-plus eager canines.
Unlike traditional dog show coverage, the two-hour special’s unique content is facilitated by the open format of the event, one of only four remaining “benched” shows in which the dogs are on display all day for the visiting public.
The show will spotlight three new AKC-recognized breeds, the Portugese Podengo Pequeno, the Rat Terrier and the Chinook, making their television and major-event debuts.
The National Dog Show Presented by Purina takes place on Saturday, November 16, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center as part of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s annual cluster of all-breed shows.
The producer of the event is Carson International of Ketchum, ID, the world’s most prominent producer and packager of canine events for live audiences and television.
“THE NATIONAL DOG SHOW PRESENTED BY PURINA”
2012 FACT SHEET
WHAT: “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” is the annual two-hour, family-oriented television special broadcast on NBC. This American Kennel Club (AKC) - sanctioned dog show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country. This year’s show is the 11th edition of the American family TV tradition. The Kennel Club of Philadelphia shows have been around since the late 1800’s.
The event has become a Thanksgiving Day television institution, generating a total audience approaching 20 million viewers each year as part of NBC’s traditional Thanksgiving Day family entertainment block of programming, which begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Some 2,000 of the nation’s top dogs compete for Best in Show honors in a competition open to all registered purebred dogs.
FORMAT: The National Dog Show Presented by Purina is one of only five benched format shows remaining in the United States. Benched format means that the show is open to the public and the canines are on display all day long so that attendees can see the dogs up close and meet their owners to learn about the breeds and about the responsible dog ownership.
WHEN: The National Dog Show is set to broadcast on television on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, from noon to 2 p.m. to all time zones, following NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Parade. The actual event will take place on Saturday, Nov 17 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks/Valley Forge.
WHERE: The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center is located in Oaks, PA., adjacent to historic Valley Forge, PA, and just 15 miles west of Philadelphia.
WHO: Purebred dogs from over 170 breeds, including many of America’s elite show dogs and their owners and handlers competing for Best of Breed, First in Group and the ultimate title of Best in Show.
NEW BREEDS: This year, the National Dog Show will introduce two new breeds to America’s TV viewing audience. The new breeds are:
- Russell Terrier – Terrier Group
- Treeing Walker Coonhound – Hound Group
THERAPY DOG TEAM: A team of three dynamic young canines – Dogues de Bordeaux named Li’l Abner and Stella and a Staffordshire Terrier mix named Vivian – will step forward this year to carry on the tradition of the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador program. The trio, all from the Philadelphia area, make regular visits to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House where they actively participate in therapy work with patients and families.
TV COMMENTATORS: Television personality John O’Hurley will again host the NBC special along with David Frei, America’s foremost canine expert and the co-host of USA Network’s coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The Broadway star and comedic actor, O’Hurley is best known for his work on the popular television show Seinfeld. Frei, the director of communications for Westminster, also works as a judge and has owned/handled some of the world’s
top-ranked canines over the years. Mary Carillo, best known for her work as an Olympics correspondent and tennis analyst for NBC and other networks, will be the sideline reporter.
ONLINE: www.nationaldogshow.com The National Dog Show Presented by Purina website features additional video of the show, with breed and group judging, providing canine enthusiasts with a scope of coverage that includes all of the breeds in the show.
EVENT PRODUCER: Carson International of Ketchum, ID, the world’s most prominent producer and packager of canine events for live audiences and television.
TV LISTING: The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®
Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22nd
Noon-2 p.m. in all time zones following coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
This two-hour family entertainment special has become a major event in the dog show world, hosted by The Kennel Club of Philadelphia and sanctioned by the
American Kennel Club (AKC). The special spotlights the judging of the finest show dogs from over 170 breeds. The show is hosted by purebred dog owner John O’Hurley, with expert commentary by renowned expert David Frei, the dean of dog show commentators. Since the broadcast first aired 11 years ago, over 19 million viewers tune in each year for this tradition.
Traditional holiday TV special, hosted by John O’Hurley & David Frei,
has become America’s showcase for the canine, man’s best friend
New York, NY (October xx, 2011) – NBC will present the 10th edition of its popular holiday special “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®” this Thanksgiving Day, reaching an unusual milestone for a broadcast television offering that has shown uncommon staying power in the volatile landscape of network TV.
The family-oriented celebration of dogdom airs from noon - 2 p.m. in all time zones following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade again this year, providing America and its 65 million pet-owning households a show with mass appeal before football takes over the day.
It is a celebration of America’s fascination with man’s best friend, hosted by John O’Hurley, the Seinfeld ensemble actor (catalogue king J. Peterman) and ultimate champion on ABC’s inaugural “Dancing With The Stars.” O’Hurley is joined by expert analyst David Frei, who is the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA Network and America’s foremost authority on the sport.
Unlike traditional dog show coverage, the special offers family-oriented features, facilitated by the open format of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia event, one of only five remaining “benched” shows in which dogs from over 170 breeds are on display all day for the visiting public.
“We have actually generated a legion of long-term fans and established a family holiday tradition,” stated Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and VERSUS, who conceived the idea. Miller had rented the movie Best In Show, the Christopher Guest-produced “mockumentary” which famously pokes fun at the character-rich show dog world. “I believed that a major dog show could attract and entertain the mass audience that network TV provides.”
The show more than quadrupled the previous year’s time slot rating and ten years later is averaging almost 20 million total viewers as part of a five-hour block of family programming on the most family-centric holiday of the year.
“My hope is that my grandchildren get to watch the show with their grandchildren on Thanksgiving Day,” Miller concluded.
The host of the National Dog Show (www.nationaldogshow.com), O’Hurley, has written two humorous books on the subject and provides the whimsical, “everyman” viewpoint. Frei is the industry’s most knowledgeable voice, an owner, handler, judge, author and social media personality who advocates for the increased use of therapy dogs in hospitals and medical care facilities.
But the stars of the show are the purebred dogs, up to 2,000 of which compete for the title of “Best In Show” during the telecast, which will introduce to the American viewing public six new American Kennel Club-sanctioned breeds - Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Norwegian Lundehund, Xoloitzcuintli, American English Coonhound, Cesky Terrier and Finnish Lapphund.