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[01/03/17 - 11:42 AM]
New Year New Puppies! Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl" Airs Feb. 5
For the first time, the annual special will air simultaneously on both coasts when it premieres Sunday, February 5 with three hours of fuzzy faces, sloppy kisses and puppy penalties.

[via press release from Animal Planet]

Someone's Gonna Get Licked!

BARKING RIGHTS ARE UP FOR GRABS WHEN ANIMAL PLANET'S PUPPY BOWL XIII TEARS UP THE TURF ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5

- 78 Puppies from 34 Rescues Across the U.S. Were Drafted to Represent "Team Ruff" and "Team Fluff" -

- Fans Get a Puppy's Eye View of the Grid Iron Plays with "Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality" sponsored by PEDIGREE(R) -

-Genetic Health and Breed Stats for Puppies Provided by Embark Dog DNA Test -

(New York, NY - January 3, 2017) - The cutest competition in sports history returns with an epic matchup between Team Ruff and Team Fluff's adoptable players who go nose to nose to win the inaugural Petco Lombarky trophy in PUPPY BOWL XIII at GEICO Stadium. But after the pup-tastic game of ear pulls and tail tugs is over, they all end up as winners when the puppies find their forever homes.

For the first time, Animal Planet's PUPPY BOWL XIII will air simultaneously on both coasts when it premieres Sunday, February 5 with three hours of fuzzy faces, sloppy kisses and puppy penalties. "Tail"gating starts at 2:00 PM ET/11:00 AM PT with the PUPPY BOWL PRE-GAME SHOW, featuring aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports correspondents including the infamous Rodt Weiler. At 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT, PUPPY BOWL XIII kicks off at GEICO Stadium with a special appearance by the furriest weather forecaster in the world - Mr. Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog and two of his inner circle officiate the coin toss to start the game.

PUPPY BOWL XIII repeats all day and night for a total of 10 hours on game day. There will be a special one-hour premiere of the new series ANIMAL NATION WITH ANTHONY ANDERSON directly after the premiere of PUPPY BOWL at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 PM PT.

This year's PEDIGREE(R) Starting Lineup boasts 39 puppies who are also competing for the individual BISSELL(R) MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by Petco. For the sixth year in a row, America's favorite "Rufferee," Dan Schachner, returns to call the puppy penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns. Award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport introduces the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight some of the heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes.

For PUPPY BOWL XIII, Animal Planet worked with 34 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from across 22 states to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with 78 adoptable players for this puppy pile up. With the help of DNA testing conducted by Embark, these four-legged athletes go beyond fur deep to find out what they are really made of and use it to their advantage. This year, the Bowl also features three pups with special needs - Doobert (deaf), Lucky (three-legged) and Winston (hearing and sight impaired) - who won't let their disability stop them from trying to score the winning touchdown and a loving home. One special player is drafted to play in PUPPY BOWL XIII by celebrity dog Chunk Handler. Plus, viewers will get to see the canines conduct their pre-game rituals when the cameras are allowed in the locker room.

While the puppies break for a cat nap, the ARM & HAMMER(TM) Clump & Seal(TM) KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW gets underway with a performance by the feline musical group Chicago Rock Cats with Kitty Gaga singing "Puparazzi" to her little monsters of adoptable rescue kittens.

Its cuteness overload this year when the teams add rescue mascots to their cheering section. Team Ruff gains the watchful eye of Orlando the Screech Owl and Team Fluff recruits Muffin the Chinchilla who adds another layer of fluff. Getting the fans excited on the sidelines are rescue rabbits and guinea pig cheerleaders who hop into action.

"Meep the Bird" gets a makeover and returns as a rescue African Gray Parrot. Meep will talk sports with GEICO The Gecko and live tweet updates throughout the big game. Fans can follow @MeepTheBird to catch the latest news, puppy drama, and locker room moments from inside the stadium. Plus, PUPPY BOWL fans get a glimpse of celebrity dogs Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Chloe Kardoggian, Ella Bean, Marnie the Dog, Manny the Frenchie, Mervin the Chihuahua, Sometimes Carl and Toast Meets World with her siblings Muppets Revenge and Underpants the Dog who are watching the biggest game of the year from the stands.

As always, fans will witness PUPPY BOWL's iconic water bowl cam, slow-motion playback cam and fan-favorite Dairy Queen(R) kiss cam. Viewers won't miss a minute of excitement with aerial shots of the field from the SHEBA(R) Sky Box, and Surge the Hamster is back on his wheel powering the PUPPY BOWL scoreboard.

PUPPY BOWL VIRTUAL REALITY, sponsored by PEDIGREE(R), gives viewers a pup's eye view of the action on the GEICO grid iron through the eyes of Buttons, one of this year's PUPPY BOWL XIII players. Not letting her diminutive size hold her back when tackling opponents in a scrimmage spanning two video halves, Buttons plays her way through the piles of puppies, chew toys and assistant coaches to score a winning touchdown. PUPPY BOWL VIRTUAL REALITY is available at AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowlVR, through the Discovery VR iOS and Android apps, Samsung Milk VR and on Animal Planet's YouTube page.

Fans can point their paws to AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl to view the roster of starting pups, watch the live Puppy Bowl Locker Room Cam and Kitten Fan Club Cam, and learn more about how they can help a loving animal find its forever home. Fans can dive deeper into the backstory of pup athletes with the Subaru Pup Close and Personal interactive video experience, find out what happens to puppies that don't make the cut with GEICO's Untold Stories of Puppy Bowl, and watch what happens behind the scenes from the point of view of a puppy, kitten, and the ref himself! On game day, puppy supporters are invited to vote in the Most Valuable Puppy poll at AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowlMVP. Viewer votes determine which heavenly hound gets barking rights and the title of BISSELL(R) MVP, which will be revealed at the end of the broadcast. Before and during the action, keep an eye out for guest takeovers on Animal Planet Instagram and Snapchat. Crowds can also flock to the Animal Planet and Puppy Bowl Facebook pages while also following the action in real time on Twitter.

PUPPY BOWL XIII's 34 shelters and rescue groups represent 22 states across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. This year's roster includes players from AHeinz57 (Iowa), Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (Tennessee), Citizens for Animal Protection (Texas), Last Hope K9 (Massachusetts), Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Florida), Mr. Bones & Company (New York), Nevada SPCA, Paw Works (California), Stray Rescue (Missouri), among others. The ASPCA NY provided adoptable kittens for the KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW, the cheerleading rescue rabbits and guinea pigs are from Luv-N-Bunns (Philadelphia) and Helping All Little Things (New Jersey). The chinchilla mascots were provided by Chin Friends Chinchilla Rescue (New York) and the owl flew in from Volunteers for Wildlife (Long Island). The African Parrot was provided by Phoenix Landing rescue (Washington DC). Viewers interested in learning more about the organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XIII can visit AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl.

PUPPY BOWL XIII official sponsors include PEDIGREE(R), Petco, BISSELL(R), ARM & HAMMER(TM) Clump & Seal(TM), RO*TEL(R) and Velveeta(R), Dairy Queen(R), GEICO, SHEBA(R) and Subaru.

Last year, PUPPY BOWL XII dominated a field of imitators with the number-one cable telecast across the day and dogged all competition in cable and reached more than 9 million viewers.

Animal Planet celebrates the spirit of PUPPY BOWL all year long with varied initiatives encouraging adoption. Most recently the network teamed up with ASPCA to celebrate its 150th anniversary through several adoption-themed events. As a proud partner, Animal Planet participated in the NYC Paw Parade, walking with over 500 people and 100 dogs; covered adoption costs at the Adoptapalooza event that helped get over 300 cats and dogs homes; and aired ASPCA's rehabilitation documentary, Second Chance Dogs in April.





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