AMC Networks partners with Adopt-A-Pet.com for FurFest adoption promotion

October 20, 2020

The following is a press release from AMC Networks:

AMC Networks today announced it has teamed up with Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, for AMC’s annual horror marathon FearFest, to raise awareness for pet adoption with ‘FurFest.’ All month long, AMC, AMC+, and Shudder are encouraging viewers to support Adopt-a-Pet.com’s mission to end the overpopulation of companion animals in shelters and help pets find loving forever homes through custom, PET-tacular spots airing across linear, digital, and social channels.

The custom spots, featuring a few four-legged horror fans, encourage viewers to find their perfect watch buddies through adoptions and especially raise awareness for black cat and black dog adoptions this spooky season. Halloween may be the season for magical black cats, but in reality, they are most often left behind in shelters because of the color of their fur. Many animal welfare organizations call this “black cat syndrome,” with the phenomenon happening with black dogs as well. Through the collaboration, audiences are encouraged and inspired to help fight “black cat syndrome” by adopting these furry friends or by donating to Adopt-a-Pet.com. See the custom spot: 

“We all know that spooky season is best enjoyed with a buddy by your side, which is why we’re thrilled to join forces with Adopt-a-Pet.com to help viewers find their perfect four-legged watch companions,” said Linda Schupack, President of Marketing, AMC Networks Entertainment Group. “The movies on AMC’s FearFest and Shudder are already scary enough. How great to cuddle up with a lovely black cat or black dog for Halloween and beyond.”

“Teaming up with AMC Networks is an exciting and unique way to spread the word about pet adoption,” said Dana Puglisi, Chief Marketing Officer of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “We appreciate AMC and Shudder’s efforts to help get more pets into loving homes. And we love all the extra snuggles those newly adopted pets will receive while their people binge through the FearFest thrills!”

Now in its 24th consecutive year, AMC’s annual horror marathon FearFest brings the frights with an entire month of genre programming from iconic franchises like Halloween and Insidious, and the return of award-winning docuseries Eli Roth’s History of HorrorShudder, dubbed “the ultimate in streaming horror” by Newsweek, offers the best selection of original and classic horror, thriller and supernatural films and series, uncut and commercial free. Both are also now available as part of the new AMC+, a premium streaming bundle featuring only the good stuff, which also includes IFC Midnight’s best genre cinema from independent, foreign and documentary films. In addition to the largest slate of classic horror movies such as Friday the 13th and Halloween, AMC+ also includes all series within The Walking Dead Universe, as well as AMC’s Eli Roth’s History of Horror, and new Shudder programming, such as Joe Bob’s Halloween Hideaway Special and A Creepshow Animated Special, and much more.

See the full FearFest lineup.


Find the Best in Horror at Shudder.

About AMC Networks

Known for its groundbreaking and celebrated original content, AMC Networks is the company behind the award-winning brands AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, and IFC Films. Its diverse line-up of popular and critically-acclaimed series and independent films include Killing EveBetter Call Saul and The Walking Dead, which has been the #1 show on ad-supported cable television for ten consecutive years, as well as PortlandiaBrockmireLove After Lockup, and the films BoyhoodDeath of Stalin, and many more. Its original series Mad Men and Breaking Bad are widely recognized as being among the most influential and acclaimed shows in the history of TV. The Company also operates AMC Studios, its production business; AMC Networks International, its international programming business; the subscription streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and UMC; and Levity Entertainment Group, the Company’s production services and comedy venues business. For more information, visit http://www.amcnetworks.com.

About Shudder

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit ​www.shudder.com​.

About Adopt-a-Pet.com

Adopt-a-Pet.com is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, helping over 19,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their purebred and mixed breed pets for free to millions of adopters each month. Sponsored by companies including Purina, Chewy, and Elanco Animal Health LLC, Adopt-a-Pet.com helps homeless dogs, cats, and even rabbits and other animals go from alone to adopted.

CBS All Access announces ‘That Animal Rescue Show’

September 22, 2020

“That Animal Rescue Show” (Photo by Danny Matson/CBS Interactive, Inc.)

The following is a press release from CBS All Access:

 CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’ digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, today revealed the official trailer and key art for its upcoming original docuseries “That Animal Rescue Show.” Executive produced by five-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater and two-time Academy Award winner Bill Guttentag, all 10 episodes will be available to binge exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers on Thursday, October 29, 2020.

“That Animal Rescue Show” follows the animal rescue community in and around Austin, Texas, where Linklater lives. The 10-episode docuseries provides a window into this captivating world through moving, humorous and powerful stories of animals, the humans who love them and the inspiring, life-changing bond that occurs between people who have dedicated their lives to rescue and the animals who rescue them right back.

“That Animal Rescue Show” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Dr. Phil’s Stage 29, Linklater’s Detour Filmproduction, and Guttentag and Nayeema Raza’s 1891 Productions. The series is distributed internationally by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. An episode of the series was accepted as part of the official selection for the 2020 Telluride Film Festival. In addition to Linklater, Guttentag and Raza, the series is also executive produced by Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw and Julia Eisenman.

“That Animal Rescue Show” joins CBS All Access’ growing slate of original series that currently includes “The Good Fight,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Tooning Out the News,” “No Activity,” “Why Women Kill,” “Interrogation,” “The Thomas John Experience” and “Tell Me a Story,” as well as the upcoming limited event series “The Stand,” “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “The Harper House” and “Guilty Party.” CBS All Access is also the exclusive domestic home to “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard,” the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and the U.S.S Enterprise set series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.”

About CBS All Access:

CBS All Access is ViacomCBS’ direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service. CBS All Access gives subscribers the ability to watch more than 20,000 episodes and movies on demand – including exclusive original series, current and past seasons of hit shows from the CBS Television Network and growing libraries from brands across the ViacomCBS portfolio including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Smithsonian and more, as well as a wealth of films from Paramount Pictures. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. CBS All Access also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Digital’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.

The service is currently available across all major device platforms including online, mobile and connected TV and OTT platforms and services. Versions of CBS All Access have launched internationally in Canada and Australia (10 All Access), with unique but similar content and pricing plans. For more details on CBS All Access, please visit https://www.cbs.com/all-access.

About CBS Television Studios:

CBS Television Studios is one of the industry’s leading suppliers of programming with more than 70 series currently in production across broadcast and cable networks, streaming services and other emerging platforms. The Studio’s expansive portfolio spans a diverse slate of commercially successful and critically acclaimed scripted programming, genre-defining franchises including the ever-growing “Star Trek” universe, award-winning late night and daytime talk shows, and an extensive library of iconic intellectual property.

EDITOR’S NOTE: CBS All Access will rebrand as Paramount+, which goes into effect in early 2021.

Review: ‘Starting at Zero,’ starring Tracey Strichik, Steve Bullock, Ralph Northam, Cynthia Jackson, Tara Skiles, James Ernest and Sunny McPhillips

August 16, 2020

by Carla Hay

A scene from “Starting at Zero” (Photo courtesy of Abramorama)

“Starting at Zero”

Directed by Willa Kammerer

Culture Representation: The documentary “Starting at Zero,” about the U.S. education system for children younger than 6 years old, interviews white and black people (and one person of Asian descent), mostly from U.S. states in the South and Midwest, who are educators, politicians, academics and parents representing the middle-class and upper-class.

Culture Clash: Because access to a good education is usually determined by socioeconomic factors, most of the people interviewed say that more U.S. states need to do a better job at making it a more level playing field for people to have access.

Culture Audience: “Starting at Zero” will appeal primarily to people who are concerned about education for children under the age of 6, but the documentary puts so much emphasis on states in the South (especially Alabama) and the Midwest that people who live in other regions of the U.S. might be turned off by this bias.

A scene from “Starting at Zero” (Photo courtesy of Abramorama)

The child-education documentary “Starting at Zero” (directed by Willa Kammerer), for all of its noble intentions, is a very flawed and extremely dull film that was in serious need of good editing before this movie was released to the public. “Starting at Zero” is supposed to be about pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education in the United States, but more than half of the movie looks like a public-relations promotional video to glorify the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE), as if it’s the only government-funded pre-school department that works well in America. It’s best not to play an alcohol drinking game to take a drink every time Alabama is mentioned in this documentary, because that will definitely result in alcohol poisoning. The movie is only 63 minutes long, but it feels like it’s a lot longer.

In the production notes for “Starting at Zero,” Kammerer says that the movie (which is her first feature-length documentary) started out as exploration of why ADECE’s First Class Pre-K program has been consistently ranked #1 for more than a decade by the National Institute for Early Education Research. (There’s no mention in the documentary that Alabama is consistently ranked one of the worst states in the U.S. for education. More on that in a moment.) But as Kammerer and the other filmmakers got deeper into making the documentary, Kammerer says that they “realized there was so much more to the story—that it had roots in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, and other threads in Oklahoma and Montana, Chicago and Omaha and beyond.”

The problem is that the movie pretty much ignores the “beyond” part, by sticking to interviewing people who are connected to the pre-school education system in the South or Midwest. It’s a huge misstep for a documentary that’s supposed to be about the overall pre-school education system in the U.S., even though the documentary is actually a narrow look at only certain regions of the country. “Starting at Zero” gives the impression that the filmmakers didn’t want to spend the time, money or resources to include other regions of the U.S. outside of the South and Midwest. And that myopic view is just going to alienate a lot of viewers when they see that this is a documentary focused primarily on pre-school education in Southern and Midwestern states.

The fact-finding in this documentary is amateurish and, at times, atrocious. “Starting at Zero” cites statistics but does not list any sources for those statistics, which will make viewers wonder how credible those statistics are. It’s very disappointing that a movie about education seems like it was made by people who have no education in research, such as this basic standard: Always cite your sources.

And in being too eager/biased in promoting Alabama as an ideal state for pre-school education, the filmmakers of “Starting at Zero” completely ignored something that’s common knowledge to many people who are in and outside of the U.S. education system: Alabama is consistently ranked at or near the bottom of all U.S. states in education. According to U.S. News and World Report, Alabama is ranked dead last out of all 50 states in overall education and ranked at #49 out of 50 in education for pre-K to 12th grade.

The lack of diversity in “Starting at Zero” isn’t just with the U.S. regions covered in the film. Although there are several black people interviewed in “Starting at Zero,” Latinos are completely shut out of the documentary, and the only Asian who’s interviewed in the movie (Harvard University professor of public economics Raj Chetty) gets less than a minute of screen time toward the end. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asians and Latinos are the fastest-growing racial groups in the United States. It’s really appalling that a documentary about the education of future generations in the U.S. leaves out significant representation of these racial groups in the documentary.

Only one person in the documentary realistically discusses the issue of how racial diversity impacts U.S. public schools. Cynthia Jackson, executive director of Educare, comments: “There are groups of children—immigrant children, children of color, children from under-served and under-represented communities—that are being left behind because of unconscious bias, because of equity issues.”

And speaking of unconscious bias, “Starting at Zero” has some racist editing too, because every time someone mentions “poor” or “under-performing” students in a voiceover, the film shows children who aren’t white, usually African American children. It reinforces a racist stereotype that non-white students are the only kids in school who could possibly be bad students or poor. The reality is that there are poor people and bad students of all races in America, but the filmmakers of this substandard documentary don’t seem to have a grasp on that reality.

Another major blind spot in “Starting at Zero” is how it barely mentions that being able to afford pre-school child care is a huge issue for many families. Not everyone can afford the “best” pre-schools in their communities. “Starting at Zero” has absolutely no one in the movie who says they’re struggling with being able to afford pre-school childcare, but it isn’t surprising that this perspective is shut out of “Starting at Zero,” since the movie fails on so many levels. Of the long list of people interviewed for this movie (see below), only two are parents who talk about having kids in a pre-school program, and they don’t talk about how it affects their finances.

The movie preaches that every state should eventually have the type of great pre-school child care that will be free to all, in order to “level the playing field” in U.S. education. Several people in the movie declare that since government-funded U.S. education is on the state level, not national level, it will be up to each state to make these improvements. Easier said than done.

Virginia governor Ralph Northam comments, “When one family has the means to send their children to early childhood education programs and another family doesn’t, it’s really what starts the gap. And we can either invest in it responsibly at an early age or can try to catch up later. The math is very simple.”

But the movie never answers this question: “Who’s going to pay for it?” Too many people are already angry at their state governments for raising taxes, and they don’t want higher taxes for the government to pay for these pre-school education programs. And although some people in “Starting at Zero” say that education is a non-partisan issue, the reality is that education funding is a partisan issue when one party can be more resistant than another to raise taxes to improve funding for severely under-funded public schools for children.

And speaking of funding, there’s no real discussion in “Starting at Zero” about the fact that school teachers for children are underpaid and how these severely low salaries are a major problem in attracting “quality” educators in public schools for children. A lot of people in the documentary spout vague platitudes about “high-quality education,” yet it’s irresponsible for the documentary to ignore that it’s harder to attract “high-quality” educators on the pre-school level if the educators aren’t even being paid a living wage.

Some of the ADECE people in the documentary brag that in Alabama, pre-school teachers and kindergarten teachers who work for government-funded schools are paid the same salary. But the documentary doesn’t mention is that teachers on this level all across the U.S. are usually part-time employees (they don’t get health insurance or other full-time benefits from their job) who get such low salaries that it’s not enough to be considered a living wage. ADECE has a program that brings pre-school teachers to people’s homes, but the documentary omits specific information about how much money it costs for Alabama to provide these home services and how many households actually get these services.

“Starting at Zero” spends a lot of time repeating things that are common knowledge, such as the fact that kids start learning before they go to school and that the type of pre-school education a child has will make a difference in how well the child does in school. The more educated a society is, the more likely the society’s economy will prosper. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in and care about a child’s education even before the child enrolls in school.

You don’t have to be an educator or a parent to know all of that, but there are several people who repeat these things throughout the film. Because this constant repetition is put in the movie, the filmmakers seem to think viewers are too stupid to understand the first time someone said it in the documentary. “Starting at Zero” makes the same mistake that a lot of documentaries make: It overstuffs the movie with talking heads who say the same things over and over.

The filmmakers of “Starting at Zero” don’t seem to understand that a documentary isn’t automatically good if you put as many interviews as possible in the documentary. In fact, interviews with too many people can make a documentary look cluttered and absolutely boring, especially if many of the people being interviewed don’t have a lot of charisma. It should be commended that the filmmakers made an effort to have numerous sources to interview, but this documentary needed better directing and editing, by putting into practice the concept of “quality over quantity” in the final cut of the movie.

Here’s the list of interviewees in “Starting at Zero,” keeping in mind that this movie is only a little more than an hour long, not a docuseries:

  • Joe Adams, research coordinator of Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama
  • Susan Adams, assistant commissioner for Pre-K, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
  • Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Laura Baker, regional director coordinator of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Pam Baker, Alabama First Class Pre-K teacher
  • Erin Barton, Vanderbilt Peabody College associate professor 
  • Camilla Benbow, dean of Vanderbilt Peabody College
  • Rebecca Berlin, senior vice-president of Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Misty Blackmon, regional director of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Edwin Bridges, retired director of Alabama Department of Archives and History  
  • Steve Bullock, governor of Montana
  • Phil Bryant, former governor of Mississippi
  • Greg Canfield, Alabama secretary of commerce
  • Raj Chetty, Harvard University professor of economics
  • Lucy Cohen, HIPPY state lead of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Jeff Coleman, CEO of Coleman Worldwide Moving
  • Shernila Cook, graduate and Alabama First Class Pre-K
  • Tom Dodd, regional vice-president, Kaplan Early Learning Company
  • Steven Dow, executive director of CAP Tulsa
  • Amy Dunn, coach, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • James Ernest, University of Alabama, Birmingham professor
  • Alice Evans, monitor of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Jean Feldman, teacher/author
  • Stacy Ferguson, retired regional director of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Dorothy Flowers, Alabama First Class Pre-K teacher
  • Delliiah Hasberry, Alabama First Class Pre-K parent/Help Me Grow Alabama community liaison
  • Jana Hoggle, Satsuma City Schools director of Pre-K
  • Jan Hume, grants and budgets of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina
  • Cynthia Jackson, executive director of Educare Learning Network
  • Laura Jana, pediatrician/author
  • Lee Johnson III, director of First 5 Alabama, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Archie Jones, Harvard Business School director/senior lecturer
  • Todd Klunk, W.K. Kellogg Foundation program officer
  • Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Sunny McPhillips, lead teacher of Alabama First Class Pre-K
  • Allison Muhlendorf, executive director of Alabama School Readiness Alliance
  • Ralph and Pamela Northam, governor and first lady of Virginia
  • Diana Mendley Rauner, president of Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Bentley Ponder, senior director of research and policy, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
  • Dallas Rabig, Alabama State Coordinator for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
  • Jeana Ross, secretary of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Aaliyah Samuel, formerly of National Governor’s Association
  • Diane Schanzenbach, Northwestern University director of Institute for Policy Research
  • Javaid E. Siddiqi, president/CEO of the Hunt Institute
  • Tara Skiles, professional development manager of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Trellis Smith, Head Start state collaboration director of Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Jim Squires, retired employee of National Institute for Early Education Research   
  • Katharine B. Stevens, American Enterprise Institute education policy scholar
  • Jera Stribling, director of Alabama Giving
  • Trayce Strichik, senior director, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Rachel Wagner, Devereux Center for Resilient Children
  • Emily Warren-Bailey, Alabama First Class Pre-K teacher
  • Eria White, Alabama First Class Pre-K parent
  • Kash White, Alabama First Class Pre-K student

NOTE: Alabama governor Kay Ivey is not interviewed for the documentary, but the movie has footage of her giving a speech that mentions pre-school education.

Stylistically, “Starting at Zero” is structured like a tedious PowerPoint presentation, including having outlines on the screen that lists each of the documentary’s five chapters, with headings and subheadings. Footage of real-life pre-school classes is mostly used as anonymous background to the voiceover commentaries from the interviews. However, these visual features of the documentary aren’t the film’s biggest problem.

“Starting at Zero” might be only 63 minutes long, but it’s bloated with too many people, mainly from the South or Midwest, who repeat the same things about how “high-quality” pre-school education should be available to everyone in the U.S., without discussing the practicalities of how to pay for it. If you thought that the list of interviewees was long, imagine how it must feel to watch most of them repeating similar generic comments about education. Excruciating.

Most of the people interviewed are in privileged positions where they don’t have to think about how pre-school education will break their household budgets if they have children who need this type of education. A lot of people in America aren’t that lucky; pre-school education is out of their reach because they can’t afford it. Meanwhile, most pre-school educators’ salaries in the U.S. aren’t enough for a basic standard of living in the U.S.

The way that “Starting at Zero” ignores these problems and many other issues makes this documentary short-sighted at best, irresponsible at worst. If people want to see a much better documentary about pre-school education in the U.S., then watch “No Small Matter,” which takes a more comprehensive and more informative look at this important subject.

Abramorama released “Starting at Zero” in select U.S. virtual cinemas on August 14, 2020.

HBO Max premieres ‘The Dog House UK’

July 9, 2020

“The Dog House” UK (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

The following is a press release from HBO Max:

HBO Max’s heartwarming unscripted series The Dog House: UK is moving up its premiere date to Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Finding forever homes for rejected dogs isn’t easy – but that’s exactly what the staff of Wood Green do every day. Set inside a rural British animal rescue center known for its commitment to matching homeless dogs with eager owners, The Dog House: UK captures the joy and complexity of the human-dog “dating” experience. Each of the first season’s eight episodes introduces tearful tales of abandoned dogs, while also touching on relatable backstories of families, couples, and singletons all hoping their lives will be changed by a new four-legged friend. It’s up to the center’s dedicated staff to match pet with potential new owner – and to arrange an all-important first date that will determine if the adorable pups and hopeful humans have that fated connection. The show was originally produced by Five Mile Films for Channel 4 in the UK for distribution by all3media International.

Review: ‘No Small Matter,’ starring Rachel Giannini, Andrew Meltzoff, Myra Jones-Taylor, Deborah Phillips, Geoffrey Canada, Matthew Melmed, and Nadine Burke Harris

June 26, 2020

by Carla Hay

Rachel Giannini (pictured at right) and a student in “No Small Matter” (Photo courtesy of Abramorama)

“No Small Matter”

Directed by Danny Alpert, Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel

Culture Representation: The documentary “No Small Matter,” about children’s learning abilities before kindergarten age, interviews a racially diverse group of people (white, African American, Latino and Asian) who are educators, academics and parents representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A child’s ability to learn can be hampered by poverty, abuse, and a lack of caring adults in the child’s life, and it’s become increasingly harder for middle-class parents to afford childcare for pre-school children.

Culture Audience: “No Small Matter” will appeal primarily to parents, educators and other people who are concerned about how to teach children under the age of 6.

Larry Johnson, Wahnika Johnson and their daughter Laryn in “No Small Matter” (Photo courtesy of Abramorama)

The documentary “No Small Matter” tackles two different but related topics, and handles one topic better than the other. The first topic (which is the one that’s handled better) is an exploration of children’s learning abilities from birth to the age of 5. The second topic is about the increasing struggles for non-wealthy parents in the United States to give their pre-school children the best possible education and learning experiences.

“No Small Matter” directors Danny Alpert, Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel do a very good job of balancing interviews with experts and footage of real middle-class/working-class parents and pre-school children. The documentary gives a fairly comprehensive overview of children’s learning abilities before they reach school age. The movie also advocates for better support systems for parents of pre-school children, as affordable childcare become increasingly difficult for parents who have to work outside the home.

The best scenes in the film are with childhood educator Rachel Giannini, who was working at the time at Highland Park Community Nursery School and Day Care Center in Highland Park, Illinois. Her infectious enthusiasm for teaching kids and giving them positive encouragement to be themselves in their learning process are inspiring for anyone who wants to know how a good pre-kindergarten teacher should be.

Narrated by Alfre Woodard (who is also the documentary’s executive producer), “No Small Matter” covers subject matter that a lot of people might already know. For example, it’s fairly common knowledge that babies can start learning from birth. Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, tells a story of interacting with a baby who was just 42 minutes old. He saw that when he stuck out his tongue, the baby immediately did the same, which is an indication of how quickly newborn babies can learn imitation skills.

The documentary also mentions the new technology that’s available to study babies’ brain activities. Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences co-director Patricia Kuhl declares that it’s possible to see what’s going on in a baby’s brain before the baby can talk. However, the documentary could have used a little more discussion about how devices such as smartphones and tablets can affect brain activity for pre-school children.

One of the best aspects of “No Small Matter” is that the film has an impressive and diverse list of experts who are interviewed. The academics include University of California at Berkeley psychology professor Alison Gopnick; Georgetown University psychology professor Deborah Phillips; Temple University psychology professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek; University of Wisconsin pediatrics professor Dipesh Navsaria; and University of Wisconsin psychology professor Seth Pollak.

There are also several leaders of children-oriented nonprofit organizations, such as Center for Youth Wellness founder/pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris; Zero to Three executive director Matthew Melmed; Harlem Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada; Child Care Aware of America executive director Lynette Fraga; National Association for the Education of Young Children CEO Rhian Allvin; ReadyNation co-founder Robert Dugger and AVANCE executive director Jessica Atlas.

One interview that seems a little out of place is with Sesame Workshop senior vice president of curriculum and content Rosemarie Truglio, because during the interview, she’s interrupted by “Sesame Street” character Cookie Monster, who does a comedic skit with her. It’s supposed to be funny, but it comes across as too staged, awkward and perhaps some kind of sponsorship deal that the filmmakers made with Sesame Workshop. If people want to watch “Sesame Street” skit, they can watch “Sesame Street.” It doesn’t need to be in this documentary during what’s supposed to be a serious interview.

Several people in the documentary say things are already well-known: There’s a direct link between poverty, lack of education and crime. People who end up in prison are more likely to be poor and uneducated (not completing a high-school education) than people who not poor and not educated. Aside from the fact that prisons are filled with poor people who can’t afford good legal representation, poor and uneducated people are less likely to get jobs that can pay a living wage, thereby increasing the possibility that they will turn to crime to make money.

It’s a vicious cycle that experts say has the greatest chance of being broken by giving poor people the education that can increase their chances to climb out of poverty. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections secretary John Wetzel says, “True criminal justice reform is investing in early childhood education.” Arthur Rudnick, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, adds: “You won’t find a better return than investing in early childhood education.”

But the rising cost of that early education is something that’s become increasingly difficult for working-class and middle-class families. Shea Gattis is named in the documentary as an example of someone who benefited from early education as a way to prevent some of the negative lifestyle circumstances and choices that plague low-income communities. Gattis is part of the Carolina Abecedarian Project, launched in 1972, which has been tracking him for more than 40 years since his childhood. He came from a low-income community, but received early education through the project and has been thriving as a law-abiding citizen with a good career.

The documentary shows three families who are struggling with making ends meet and having affordable child care for their pre-school children.

  • A married couple in Yorktown, Virginia—special-education teacher Wahnika Johnson and systems administrator Larry Johnson—have to put their daughter Laryn in day care after Wahnika’s maternity leave ends and she has to go back to work. The movie shows that how this transition has an emotional effect on Wahnika.
  • A married couple in Henderson, Nevada—nail technician Shannon Poff and security guard Donnie Poff—work two different shifts so that one can be home to take care of their son Daymean, who was born with a heart defect. Daymean’s medical bills have put the couple heavily in debt.
  • A single mother in Waco, Texas—Maria Hernandez—uses the nonprofit AVANCE program, which provides free child care for low-income families in the area.

It’s not exactly news to report that many families struggle with being able to afford childcare. What the documentary could have explored better is how a program like AVANCE works and is able to get funding and how a program like AVANCE can be implemented in other communities who need these programs the most.

Melmed comments that the U.S. military has “the best family support system in the United States.” It’s a belief confirmed by U.S. Army first-class sergeant Keacha Simmons, a mother who is interviewed kin the film. That’s great, but considering that most families in the U.S. don’t get military benefits, “No Small Matter” could have taken a closer look at people and organizations that are doing something about the problem of making good childcare affordable to families.

People already know that teachers/educators of children are grossly underpaid in the United States. With most budgets of cities, counties and states already stretched to the limits, it seems as if the future of early childhood education has to rely more on private funding. Where are all the billionaires who can help? And if a lot of wealthy people are helping, where is the money going? No one seems to ask these questions in the documentary.

Melmed has this to say about one of the best ways to rethink childcare and to make it more fun and educational for kids: “It’s not babysitting. It’s brain building.” “No Small Matter” is a good documentary that examines the issues and problems of educating pre-school age children in the United States. However, the documentary would have been much better if it also focused on realistic and attainable solutions.

Abramorama released “No Small Matter” on digital and VOD on June 26, 2020. The movie’s DVD release date is June 30, 2020.

HBO Max greenlights dog-grooming competition show; Jess Rona leads the panel of judges

April 17, 2020

Jess Rona (Photo courtesy of HBO Max)

HBO Max, the upcoming direct-to-consumer offering from WarnerMedia set to launch in the spring of 2020, announced today the greenlight of Hot Dog (working title), from Jax Media and Making It’s Nicolle Yaron. The twelve-episode, half-hour series features three dog groomers facing off in a full head-to-tail creative competition showcasing canine breeds of all kinds.

Inspired by the social platforms and coffee table book from celebrity dog grooming expert Jess Rona, each episode will include imaginative challenges and out of the box themes meant to spotlight the best looks for man’s best friend. Featuring comedic commentary from celebrity guests and a host, Rona will lead the judging panel with the Best in Show winner walking away with a cash prize and first place rosette.

Jess Rona built a following online with her signature slo-motion blow dry videos and serves as the dog grooming artist to many celebrity dogs. In addition to grooming, she is the author of Groomed, the director of Tegan and Sarah’s Closer video, and has appeared on Drunk History and New Girl.

“Jess Rona has made a name for herself as dog groomer-to-the stars and it is so fun to be able to bring her incredibly successful online brand and business to life in this way, ” said Jennifer O’Connell, executive vice president of original non-fiction and kids programming for HBO Max. “Expect pure escapism that the whole family can watch together and root for their favorite pooch with the most fabulous and creative trans-fur-mations.”

Hot Dog is a comedy competition series from JAX Media as they continue to expand their slate into the unscripted space.

“We are very excited to work with Nicolle, Jess and HBO Max on this very important project. There’s no better time to watch a dog get a bath than now,” says JAX Media’s partners Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, Brooke Posch and John Skidmore.

The series will be executive produced by Jax Media’s Tony Hernandez, Brooke Posch and Séamus Murphy-Mitchell along with Making It’s Nicolle Yaron and Jess Rona. Abi McCarthy has been tapped as showrunner.

“Haute Dog” (Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO Max)

September 16, 2020 UPDATE:

“Haute Dog,” HBO Max’s head-to-tail dog grooming creative competition series showcasing canine breeds of all kinds is launching with its first six episodes on Thursday, September 24, 2020. Emmy nominee Robin Thede (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”) is joining celebrity dog groomer Jess Rona to judge the imaginative challenges and out of the box themes meant to spotlight the best looks for man’s best friend. These doggy makeover wizards compete to turn the K-9s into K-10s. Matt Rogers (“Las Culturistas”) serves as the show’s host.

The most adorable competition series ever created, each episode features three dog groomers facing off over two rounds. Rogers provides comedic commentary as Rona leads the judging panel with her extensive knowledge of breeds and proper grooming techniques, with Thede serving as “haute” expert evaluating the outrageous and jaw-dropping transformations. The judges determine who wins Best in Show, with the lucky groomer walking away with $10,000 and a first place rosette. Rona’s coffee table book Groomed and social platforms, including her signature slo-motion blow dry videos, inspired the series.

Jax Media completed production of the series over four weeks this summer in Simi Valley following full union guidelines and COVID protocols, with zero positive results from cast, crew and producers. Tests were conducted regularly across four weeks of production from load in to strike.

About HBO Max
HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering debuting in spring 2020. With 10,000 hours of curated premium content anticipated at launch, HBO Max will offer powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from Warner Media’s rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Sign up for updates at HBOMax.com.

About WarnerMedia
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Now, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).

About JAX MEDIA
Founded in 2011, JAX Media is a television and film production juggernaut run by Partners Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London. Jax Media has created a production model that allows talent to maintain control of their content and the results have been answered with awards and critical acclaim. As a company, they provide comprehensive production from development through post with a highly experience in-house production team who expertly implements the unique Jax Media model that has proven itself time and time again as a success for studios, networks and creatives alike. Jax Media currently has 11 shows in production and was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards for the 2018-2019 TV season alone

2020 Beverly Hills Dog Show: NBC special postponed

March 30, 2020

Bono, the Havanese winner of Best in Show at the 2019 Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina (Photo by Nicole Weingart/NBCUniversal)

The following is a press release from NBC:

Due to post production delays, the 2020 “Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina,” which was taped Feb. 29 and scheduled to air April 5 on NBC, will now air at a later date to be announced.*

In its original April 5 timeslot, (12:30-2:30 p.m. ET / 9:30-11:30 a.m. PT), NBC will broadcast the 2019 Beverly Hills Dog Show, featuring Best in Show winner Bono.

Last year, a 3-year-old Havanese named Bono was crowned Best in Show. The little canine from the Toy group is the most-winning Havanese in the breed’s history with over 90 Best in Show titles. Previous Beverly Hills Dog Show winners include 2018’s King, a Wire Fox Terrier, and 2017’s Ripcord, a Doberman Pinscher.

In celebration of man’s best friend and with the glamour only Beverly Hills can provide, the star-studded competition is co-hosted by award-winning TV personality, author and Broadway actor John O’Hurley and American Kennel Club-licensed judge and expert analyst David Frei.

Hosted by the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills and produced by NBC Sports, “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina” is a new breed of dog show and must-see viewing for the whole family. Before more than 1,500 dogs representing 200 eligible breeds and varieties face off for the coveted Best in Show title, the canine competitors will mingle with celebrity guests and strut their stuff on the red carpet. For the main event, each group winner will walk the show’s unique runway for the Best in Show judge to determine which dog has what it takes to be champion.

“We all love our dogs, of course,” Frei said. “We invite fans to celebrate these four-legged stars with us at the Beverly Hills Dog Show where they can cheer their favorites. After it’s over, hug your own dog and remind them they’re always Best in Show.”

This year’s dog-loving celebrity guests include Lauren Ash, Brian Baumgartner, Reece Caddell, Jade Catta-Preta, Olivia Culpo, Ester Dean, Bo Derek, Doug the Pug, Parveen Kaur, MJ Javid & Tommy Feight, Nastia Liukin, Greg Louganis, Ariana Madix, Justine Marino, Caitlin McGee, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier and Jocko Sims.

Two newly AKC-sanctioned breeds will compete to be top dog this year. The Barbet (sporting group) is a water dog from France with a long, sweeping tail, a dense coat of curly hair and a distinctive beard. He’s an agile athlete with a bright, friendly nature. The Dogo Argentino (working group) is a strong and intelligent hunting dog from Argentina, originally bred to hunt big game such as boar and mountain lion. He has a short white coat and expressive face.

ABOUT JOHN O’HURLEY

Award-winning television personality, author and Broadway star John O’Hurley is host of “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Present by Purina” and “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” on NBC. Dubbed one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive,” he is best known as J. Peterman on “Seinfeld,” for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award. He was also the ultimate champion of the first “Dancing with the Stars” television show. He has authored three books – “Before the Dog Can Eat Your Homework First You Have to Do It: Life Lessons From a Wise Old Dog to a Young Boy” (Hudson Street Press, 2007), the New York Times bestseller “It’s Okay to Miss the Bed on the First Jump” (Plume, 2007) and his latest book for children, “The Perfect Dog” (Grosset & Dunlap, 2013), which since its release has inspired “The Perfect Dog,” a musical designed for children’s theatre. The musical production is licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide as part of its Theatre for Young Audiences catalogue. He is currently starring in his own one-man show, “A Man with Standards,” a humorous and poignant take on his life and experiences in show business.

ABOUT DAVID FREI

America’s foremost authority on all things canine, David Frei is a natural choice to serve as host and expert analyst for “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” and “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina” on NBC. An American Kennel Club (AKC)-licensed judge who has officiated dog shows all over the world, Frei hosted television coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for 27 years. A successful former breeder/handler/owner, he is proudest of the work his therapy dogs have done at the Ronald McDonald House of New York, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the New York VA Hospital, among other health-related institutions. Frei’s first book, “The Angel by My Side” (Hay House Publishing, 2002, with Mike Lingenfelter), claimed two Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) Awards. His latest book, “Angel on a Leash” (BowTie Press, 2011), also a DWAA award winner, tells of his years of experience and work with therapy dogs. Frei was inducted into the Dog Writers Association of America Hall of Fame in 2018.

ABOUT MARIA MENOUNOS

Emmy Award-winning journalist, TV personality, motivational speaker, New York Times bestselling author, host of the Noovie cinema pre-show and co-founder/CEO of the AfterBuzz TV Streaming Networks, Maria Menounos has gained numerous achievements throughout her career in the news and entertainment industry. One of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful, Menounos holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only sit-down interview with the Obama family, an interview ABC News heralded as a deciding factor in President Obama’s historic victory. Currently, Menounos hosts the Noovie cinema pre-show seen daily in 70% of America’s movie theaters, and her weekly podcast, “Conversations with Maria Menounos,” introduces listeners to stars, newsmakers and successful women in engaging conversations on their journeys, advice and passions. As one of the only female CEO’s in the tech world, Menounos heads the AfterBuzz TV digital broadcast streaming network, which produces more than 150 hours of weekly programming for over 120 countries worldwide. Menounos’ AfterBuzz TV mentorship program has helped launch careers for the likes of Fox TV’s Eboni K. Williams, WWE Superstars Sonia Deville and Cathy Kelly, Netflix’s Koramo Brown, “Entertainment Tonight’s” Courtney Tezeno and Deirdre Behar, and hundreds of others.

ABOUT MARY CARILLO

Mary Carillo is a former professional tennis player who has earned awards and accolades for her work as a television analyst and has become a fixture at the Olympic Games for more than two decades as a reporter, analyst and host. Carillo has received two coveted Peabody Awards, one for her work on the HBO documentary “Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer” and the other for co-writing, with Frank Deford, the HBO documentary “Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sport.” She was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2018. Carillo was also named best commentator by both Tennis magazine and World Tennis magazine and broadcaster of the year by the WTA. She has co-written two books — “Tennis My Way,” with Martina Navratilova, and Rick Elstein’s “Tennis Kinetics.” Carillo played on the professional tennis tour from 1977-80. Teaming with childhood friend John McEnroe, she won the 1977 French Open mixed doubles title. In 1977 she was a doubles quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open and a doubles runner-up at the U.S. Clay Court Championships.

ABOUT AKBAR GBAJABIAMILA

Akbar Gbajabiamila is host of NBC’s three-time Emmy Award-nominated hit competition series “American Ninja Warrior,” which begins its 12th season this summer. He is also the host of “American Ninja Warrior Juniors” on the Universal Kids Network. Gbajabiamila is a former NFL star who currently hosts one of NFL Network’s highest-rated shows, “NFL Fantasy Live.” He has made headlines being parodied on “Saturday Night Live” by Drake, as well as hailed in the media as a hero for chasing down a hit-and-run suspect who sideswiped a Los Angeles motorcycle cop. Gbajabiamila made his acting debut on NBC’s “The Night Shift,” as well as hosted NBC’s 2017 “Red Nose Day Special” and “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.”

ABOUT PURINA

Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness. Subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.

*April 28, 2020 UPDATE:

· NBC will air the 2020 “Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina” on Sunday, May 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). The special, which was taped on Feb. 29, was previously postponed due to post-production delays.

· In celebration of man’s best friend and with the glamour only Beverly Hills can provide, the star-studded competition is co-hosted by award-winning TV personality, author and Broadway actor John O’Hurley and American Kennel Club-licensed judge and expert analyst David Frei. Mary Carillo, Akbar Gbajabiamila and Maria Menounos serve as contributors, and this year’s dog-loving celebrity guests include Lauren Ash, Brian Baumgartner, Reece Caddell, Jade Catta-Preta, Olivia Culpo, Ester Dean, Bo Derek, Doug the Pug, Parveen Kaur, MJ Javid & Tommy Feight, Nastia Liukin, Greg Louganis, Ariana Madix, Justine Marino, Caitlin McGee, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier and Jocko Sims.

· Leading up to the May 17 broadcast, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will present “The Dog Days of Spring” primetime marathon from May 4 – May 7 (7 p.m.-3 a.m. ET) and May 8 – May 9 (8 p.m-3 a.m. ET) featuring past competitions of “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina,” “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” and “Incredible Dog Challenge.”

· Last year, a 3-year-old Havanese named Bono was crowned the 2019 Best in Show. The little canine from the Toy group is the most-winning Havanese in the breed’s history with over 90 Best in Show titles. Previous Beverly Hills Dog Show winners include 2018’s King, a Wire Fox Terrier, and 2017’s Ripcord, a Doberman Pinscher. On April 5, NBC aired a re-broadcast of the 2019 Beverly Hills Dog Show, which was the second highest rated sports program of the weekend across all networks and was watched by an average of over 1.2M viewers.

· Hosted by the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills and produced by NBC Sports, “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina” is a new breed of dog show and must-see viewing for the whole family. Before more than 1,500 dogs representing 200 eligible breeds and varieties face off for the coveted Best in Show title, the canine competitors will mingle with celebrity guests and strut their stuff on the red carpet. For the main event, each group winner will walk the show’s unique runway for the Best in Show judge to determine which dog has what it takes to be champion.

Nickelodeon, Time and Time for Kids team up to launch Kid of the Year award show

February 24, 2020

Trevor Noah (Photo by Craig Sjodin/ABC)

The following is a press release from Nickelodeon:

Nickelodeon, TIME and TIME For Kids are joining forces for the first-ever Kid of the Year honor, a year-long multiplatform initiative that will include a TV special simulcast on Nick and the CBS Television Network, and hosted by Trevor Noah (“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”). The December hour-long special will recognize five extraordinary young leaders who are making a positive impact in their communities and name TIME Kid of the Year, who will also be featured in companion stories in TIME and TIME For Kids. The Kid of the Year partnership will also include the opportunity for all the honorees to serve as kid reporters for TIME For Kids with exclusive access to Nickelodeon events throughout the year. Details on the nomination and submission process for Kid of the Year will be announced at a later date.

Said Trevor Noah, “As a former kid, I’m looking forward to being part of Nickelodeon and TIME’s Kid of the Year special, which celebrates everything that makes young people amazing and gives them a platform to have their voices heard. Today’s kids want to actively make the world a better place and we should do everything we can to help. That’s the goal of this show. So, let’s take those first steps on the path to positive change together and shine a light on the good.”

“Kids drive the cultural narrative in so many ways, and we at Nickelodeon are honored to partner with TIME and TIME For Kids for our first-ever Kid of the Year, an event that celebrates influential kids making a huge impact in their schools, communities and the world,” said Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Unscripted Content. “Led by the multitalented Trevor Noah, this special will showcase real kids’ achievements in a fun, unique way, and we are thrilled to extend its reach significantly further by simulcasting it on CBS, which is the most watched broadcast network.”

“Each and every day, kids around the world are inspiring, entertaining and positively impacting their communities,” said Ian Orefice, President of TIME Studios. “Their accomplishments remind us that the seemingly impossible may very well be possible. At TIME and TIME For Kids, we are committed to highlighting those that create positive change and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Nickelodeon and Trevor Noah on Kid of the Year, celebrating these remarkable kids and their stories.”

The Kid of the Year TV special will shine a spotlight on five standout kids who have all gone the extra mile to positively shift culture and inspire others, culminating with one kid being recognized as Kid of the Year. The special will also feature stars from entertainment, sports and pop culture surprising the honorees, as well as musical performances.

Nickelodeon’s Kid of the Year is a co-production of TIME Studios, Day Zero Productions, Mainstay Entertainment and Nickelodeon. Executive Producers include Andrea Delbanco (TIME For Kids), Ian Orefice and Mike Beck (TIME Studios), Trevor Noah and Haroon Saleem (Day Zero Productions), Norm Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin (Mainstay Entertainment) and Rob Bagshaw and Paul J. Medford (Nickelodeon). Production of Nickelodeon’s Kid of the Year is overseen by Rob Bagshaw, Executive Vice President, Unscripted Content.

Trevor Noah is the host of the Emmy(R) and Peabody(R) Award-winning The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah recently received two Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Interactive Program. Trevor has written, produced, and starred in 8 comedy specials, most recently including the Netflix special “Son of Patricia,” for which he also received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album. With over 75 sold-out North American shows, he is bringing his wildly successful Loud & Clear Tour to new cities across the U.S. and Europe in 2020. Trevor recently launched his new podcast series “On Second Thought: The Trevor Noah Podcast” exclusively on Luminary. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” which received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards. The Audible edition of “Born a Crime,” performed by Trevor, remains one of the top-selling and highest-rated Audible performance of all time. To date, “Born a Crime” has sold over 1 million copies across all formats.

The forthcoming Kid of the Year partnership with TIME underscores a key element of Nickelodeon’s content strategy, to create co-viewing opportunities for today’s kids and parents who increasingly use TV time as family time; and to likewise serve a generation of kids intent on building a better future, as revealed through Nickelodeon audience research findings. The Kid of the Year initiative is part of Nickelodeon’s new content slate that is informed by insights into today’s kids, who: are the most diverse generation ever and expect to see themselves authentically represented in media and in the world around them; want to make a positive difference in the world as they grow up; consider social media stars as their top role models, alongside their parents; and increasingly meet their much-desired need for family time by co-viewing entertainment content together.

About TIME

TIME is a global media brand that reaches a combined audience of more than 90 million around the world, including over 33 million digital visitors each month and 42 million social followers. A trusted destination for reporting and insight, TIME’s mission is to tell the stories that matter most, to lead conversations that change the world and to deepen understanding of the ideas and events that define our time. With unparalleled access to the world’s most influential people, the immeasurable trust of consumers globally, an unrivaled power to convene, TIME is one of the world’s most recognizable media brands with renowned franchises that include the TIME 100 Most Influential People, Person of the Year, Firsts, Best Inventions, World’s Greatest Places and premium events including the TIME 100 Summit and Gala, TIME 100 Health Summit, TIME 100 Next and more.

About TIME For Kids

Since 1995, TIME For Kids has delivered current events from TIME news bureaus around the world to millions of students in elementary and middle school classrooms across the U.S. each week. As an educational publication, the mission of TIME For Kids is to help teachers engage young readers with the world around them and inspire kids to join the conversation about current events.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).

2020 American Rescue Dog Show: Rebecca Romijn, Rodney Peete host the show

February 5, 2020

Rebecca Romijn, Gabby Douglas and Rodney Peete at the 2020 American Rescue Dog Show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, on January 19, 2020. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by the Pedigree brand returns for its third year with a two-night event Sunday, February 16, and Monday, February 17 (8 p.m. ET/PT). The only canine competition of its kind, the special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Rodney Peete, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the four-legged action ringside and backstage. This year’s celebrity judges are pet rescue advocates Gabby Douglas, Kevin Frazier, Jennie Garth, Sandra Lee Rand Melissa Peterman.

The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Beagles, Great Danes, Pugs, West Highland White Terriers and many more. Coming from extensive experience in the dog world, returning ring judges David Alexander, Lisa Arturo, Jennifer Gray and Terry Simons use their pooch prowess to crown a winner in each of the 10 categories: Belly Rubs, Couch Potato, Ears, Senior, Snoring, Special Needs, Talking, Underbite, Wiggling and Wrinkles. The winner from each group will face off in the finals where the panel of celebrity judges will be tasked with deciding which precious pup will go home with the title of Best in Rescue.

In addition to the competition in the ring, this year’s show features special video packages educating viewers about the availability of puppies in shelters, the issue of bonded pairs in need of loving homes and the rewards of adopting one of these doggie duos, as well as firsthand stories from adopters who share how rescuing a dog has enriched their lives. The special will shine a light on the important work of The Beagle Freedom Project, with a powerful segment on the organization’s dedication to rescuing and rehabilitating animals used in testing and research. The Grey Muzzle Organization is also highlighted with the television debut of their Public Service Announcement in which four comedy legends – Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Carl Reiner – share their thoughts on growing older and why it’s so rewarding for people to adopt senior dogs in need of homes. Additionally, the show will pay tribute to rescues with a segment devoted to all those on the front lines who work hard every single day to save and improve the lives of dogs everywhere.

Last year’s Best in Rescue, Howard the Dog, returns with his parents Walter and Alex for a visit with Ross Mathews backstage. They are joined by Cynthia Rigney, Board President of the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society, who shares with viewers how the grant money the shelter received from the show has helped them help the many homeless pets in their community.

The Mission of the “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a unique competition spotlighting the adorable, quirky and even hilarious traits that make dogs perfect in the eyes of those who love them. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from a local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, the Pedigree brand is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet.

Throughout the show, Adopt-a-Pet.com will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find a furry friend of their own.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree Brand is built on an unwavering love for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit www.Pedigree.com.

About Pedigree Foundation

We believe every dog deserves a loving, forever home Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescues every year, and nearly half never find a home. The foundation was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of Pedigree) food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. We’ve awarded more than 5,500 grants and $8 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need. At Pedigree Foundation, we’re working toward a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. See how you can help: www.PedigreeFoundation.org.

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nation’s shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements and grassroots efforts.

2020 Kitten Bowl: Information revealed about this year’s event

January 13, 2020

(Image courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel hosts the nation’s most beloved rescue pet event of the year when “Kitten Bowl VII” premieres exclusively, Sunday, February 2, 2020 (2 p.m. ET/PT). “Kitten Bowl VII” will feature over 100 kittens rescued from across the country, as four teams will be competing for the Feline Football Championship. The 2020 game also marks a milestone of more than 40,000 shelter pet adoptions since “Kitten Bowl” premiered in 2014.

The shelter pet adoption effort around “Kitten Bowl” began with five shelter partners six years ago. Through the partnership with North Shore Animal League America, “Kitten Bowl” neighborhood shelter partners grew to 500. In 2020, more shelter partners than ever will join the effort to raise awareness around the plight of homeless animals and the joys that shelter pet adoption brings. During “Kitten Bowl” weekend, shelter partners of North Shore Animal League America show clips from the show while showcasing beautiful animals in need of loving, forever homes. Hallmark Channel, as part of the network’s overall pet initiative ADOPTION EVER AFTER, will provide cash grants to the top participating shelters. To find a “Kitten Bowl” party near you go to Hallmarkchannel.com or AnimalLeagure.org for further details.

TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern returns as host for this year’s event from Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl Stadium. Stern embodies the spirit of adoption in her everyday life, having fostered countless animals in need. Stern’s tireless year-round efforts to find homes for animals endears her to Hallmark Channel viewers and pet enthusiasts nationwide.

On the day of the big game, Stern is joined by Hallmark Channel commentators Jill Wagner and Brennan Elliott for all the play-by-play action along with field correspondent, former NFL running back Rashad Jennings, and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason, who returns as the Commissioner of the Football Feline League. “Kitten Bowl VII” will be the MUST SEE event on the day of the big game.

North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation drafted the 2020 teams.

“Kitten Bowl VII” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment with Ross Weintraub, Jeff Altrock and Kathy Sutula serving as executive producers.