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Victory Claimed By Whisker

Move over, Puppy Bowl, there’s a cuter and cuddlier competition coming to the next Super Bowl. And it will be courtesy of Studio City’s Crown Media Holdings Inc. and its chief executive, Bill Abbott. The Feb. 2 competition airing on the company’s Hallmark Channel will feature an agility competition for frisky young cats with hurdles, tunnels, hoop jumps and poles. Abbott, a cat lover, has more in mind than just the cuteness factor of kittens playing. The show will draw its animal participants from local shelters and promote pet adoptions, much as is done on the Puppy Bowl, the annual favorite program airing prior to the Super Bowl on Discovery Communication’s Animal Planet channel since 2005. “After all, why shouldn’t cats have their day,” said Abbott, who has been wanting to do this pet project for several years now. Some details of the Kitten Bowl are still being worked out, including where the show will be filmed. Options for a location include the 2,400-square-foot house at Universal Studios the Hallmark Channel uses for its “Home & Family” show, and soundstages around Los Angeles. The Kitten Bowl is Crown Media’s latest example of its involvement with animals. The cable network has made films for the Hallmark Movie Channel that feature dogs as central characters and has a pet adoption segment on “Home & Family.” “We are looking to take all this to the next level in presence and awareness,” Abbott said. Kittens who want to be crowned king of Crown Media’s competition must complete an obstacle course in less than 270 seconds. The perky felines will be lured around the course by laser pointers and toys on a string. Crown will work with the American Humane Association to find the kitten competitors for the show and adoptive homes. Abbott, who also owns dogs, has come to understand better the circumstances animals escape when adopted. “Those are the circumstances that motivate me to get involved and make this a personal passion of mine,” he said. – 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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