Food Network announces two Bobby Flay shows: ‘Bobby’s Triple Threat’ and ‘Bobby and Sophie on the Coast’

August 18, 2022

Sophie Flay and Bobby Flay in “Bobby and Sophie on the Coast” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a combination of press releases from Food Network:

Culinary icon Bobby Flay and daughter Sophie Flay are taking a delicious food tour across the sunny California coastline in the new three-episode series, Bobby and Sophie on the Coast, premiering Monday, August 22, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network. In each one-hour episode, Bobby and Sophie explore Los Angeles, with its year-round sunshine and local ingredients that make the city a treasure trove for the best restaurants and chefs. From the glamorous Hollywood establishments to the urban revival of Downtown LA’s hot new eateries, Bobby and Sophie are on a mission to enjoy the most inventive and delectable cuisine the city has to offer. And with so much inspiration, Bobby can’t resist using the very local ingredients to cook up his own dishes for Sophie. It’s the ultimate coastal culinary adventure, Bobby and Sophie-style!

Food Network icon Bobby Flay is one of the best chefs on the planet and a master in the culinary arena, having spent his life competing at the highest level of cuisine. Now, Bobby has created the toughest culinary competition yet on the new six-episode primetime series Bobby’s Triple Threat, premiering Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT. In each one-hour episode, one extraordinarily talented and eager chef is challenged to go against the trio of culinary titans handpicked by Bobby himself for a chance to take home $25,000. The stakes couldn’t be higher, as Bobby celebrates and tests the most talented chefs in America. This is Bobby’s game and Bobby’s chefs, and there’s only one rule: it’s all or nothingFans can also watch Bobby’s Triple Threat on discovery+, with new episodes available to stream weekly starting September 27, 2022.

Bobby Flay and chef Jonathon Sawyer in “Bobby’s Triple Threat” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

At the start of each episode, one competitor enters Bobby’s secret kitchen armed with their expertise and drive to take on the culinary titans selected by Bobby  – Tiffany Derry, Michael Voltaggio and Brooke Williamson – in three head-to-head rounds. In the first two rounds, Bobby picks the main ingredients that the chefs must emphasize in their dishes, as the competitor selects which titan to face off with. The last round features the competitor picking the ingredients to incorporate, while going against the last remaining titan. All the while, one discerning guest judge blind taste tests the dishes at the end of every round. If the competitor can out-cook the titans and earn more points with their cumulative score, they take home bragging rights over the titans, earning the cash prize.

Added Flay, “I have spent my entire career opening restaurants and battling in the toughest culinary competitions, but on Triple Threat I have the chance to call all the shots, inviting the most talented chefs into my secret kitchen to take on my titans. You want to be the best; you must get through my triple threat.”

“Bobby Flay has done it again, bringing his creativity and magnetism to celebrate the most talented chefs on the planet. Viewers will witness next level culinary skills while leaning in to see if Bobby’s titans can prevent the competitors from walking away with the grand prize,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery.  

Check out Food Network’s social pages to tour the kitchen set with Bobby and get to know the titans and the competing chefs in all-new interviews. Plus, get exclusive recipes from Brooke, Michael and Tiffany and learn their expert tricks of the trade that help them succeed in battle. Fans can join the conversation on social using #BobbysTripleThreat and browse photos and videos at FoodNetwork.com/BobbysTripleThreat.

Food Network debuts ‘Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,’ a food game show hosted by Guy Fieri

July 22, 2022

Guy Fieri (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

It’s all fun and games as host and Executive Producer Guy Fieri welcomes his celebrity and chef friends to the Flavortown Lounge for outrageously fun and entertaining food-inspired games on Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,  premiering on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network and discovery+. The new game show puts a culinary twist on classic party games as the celebrity contestants compete in front of a live studio audience for the chance to win prizes for their favorite charity. Chef Antonia Lofaso assists with all the action of the competition, as the celebrities play with food in the hands-on challenge and test their culinary knowledge with trivia and word puzzles. They must stay on their toes as they never know what Guy will throw their way. Let the games begin!

“If you put a game show, late night talk show, and a food competition show in a blender, you get Guy’s Ultimate Game Night,” said Fieri. “It’s the best dinner party you’ve ever been to…filled with food, booze, off-the-hook games and the funkiest live soundtrack around.”

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night is a culinary game show unlike any other. Audiences will love playing along at home, trying to guess the answers, and will pick up new food facts too,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. “We get to join the party and enjoy the hilarious games led by the game master himself, Guy Fieri.”

In each episode, three celebrity teams compete in five rounds of games that are all about food, from Cooktionary, where they must guess the food item Guy and Antonia draw, to Dish Pics, where they must solve a picture puzzle of images that when correctly combined represents a popular dish. There is also Some Assembly Required, where the celebrities must use their creativity in challenges from designing pizza that looks like Guy, to blindly decorating cakes, and to constructing houses made from breakfast ingredients. Plus, there are wild games of Hot Potato, Charade the Pantry, Cloche Encounters, and Shop ‘Til You Drop.

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night contestants include chef Nyesha Arrington, actress Lauren Ash, chef Maneet Chauhan, actor Ben Feldman, actress Vivica A. Fox, television host Kevin Frazier, comedian Ron Funches, actor Billy Gardell, sports reporter Jay Glazer, television host Matt Iseman, magicians Penn Jillette and Teller, chef Troy Johnson, television personality Carson Kressley, actress Natasha Leggero, Olympian Tara Lipinski, comedian Cheech Marin, television personality Ross Matthews, chef  Aaron May, television host Maria Menounos, musician Brett Michaels, actress  Alyssa Milano, comedian Bobby Moynihan, actress Francia Raisa, filmmaker Kevin Smith, television host Charissa Thompson, chef Jet Tila, television host Nischelle Turner, DJ tWitch, chef Michael Voltaggio, Olympian Johnny Weir, comedian Kym Whitley, and musician Carnie Wilson.

Fans can play along with the games at home and watch the celebrity guests compete in additional challenges at FoodNetwork.com/GuysUltimateGameNight. Follow #GuysUltimateGameNight on social media to find out which games are Guy’s and Antonia’s favorites.

Guy’s Ultimate Game Night is produced by Knuckle Sandwich and Lando Entertainment for Food Network and discovery+.

Food Network announces series: ‘No-Recipe Road Trip With the Try Guys,’ Tabitha Brown-hosted ‘It’s CompliPlated,’ and ‘Ree Drummon-hosted ‘Big Bad Budget Battle’

July 21, 2022

Zach Kornfeld,  Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer and Keith Habersberger (also known as The Try Guys) in “No-Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a combination of press releases from Food Network:

With millions of followers and a loyal fanbase, comedy group The Try Guys, including Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang, are well-known for their curiosity, humor and willingness to try anything under the sun, often with hilarious results.  The four fearless best friends and business partners also love food and trying to cook new dishes with zero instruction and in No-Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys, (premiering Wednesday, August 31, 2022 on Food Network and discovery+), they test their culinary instincts to recreate signature menu items in restaurants across the country – and the final dishes are all over the map.  In each episode, the guys hit a new city and visit two local establishments where each must attempt to make the restaurant’s best-known dish with no recipe or instruction. In the end, the Try Guy with the most successful dish as determined by a local chef and guest judge wins and gets the chance to have their dish put on the restaurant’s menu. 

Tabitha Brown in “It’s CompliPlated” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

 It has never been harder to make one meal to satisfy all the people at the dining table and the new series It’s CompliPlated, hosted by vegan foodie and New York Times best-selling author Tabitha Brown, tackles that challenge with incredible results.  In each episode, four chefs compete in three rounds of cooking challenges to create dishes that will please judge Maneet Chauhan (Chopped, Tournament of Champions) and a rotating panel of guest judges, each with a very particular palate and tricky food requirements.  From a taste of Southern hospitality using only plant-based ingredients and a comfort food gluten-free noodle dish to an Instagram-worthy dinner party without fruits or vegetables, these unique cooking battles showcase how to make delicious food under any circumstance. It’s CompliPlated premieres Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network and streaming on discovery+.

It’s CompliPlated reflects what it’s actually like to make a meal the whole family will love – it’s not easy to make one dish for everyone and this series makes it fun,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery. “Tabitha Brown’s energy, sense of humor and real-life journey to becoming vegan make her the perfect host to take us on this adventure.”

“Becoming vegan changed my life and the way I cook – and I know folks can relate to the daily challenge of making the whole family happy with one meal, so we decided to make a game of it,” said Tabitha Brown. “These chefs cook from the heart and their food is mind-blowing – viewers are sure to have a blast and be inspired for their next family dinner.”

Tabitha Brown satisfies the hunger of millions with her unique approach to veganism and her wholesome, comedic personality on the daily. She is a home base for learning new recipes, acquiring imparted wisdom, or enjoying a good laugh. Now a New York Times best-selling author of her debut book “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business),” the North Carolina-born actress, vegan lifestyle personality, mother and wife has also taken various business ventures by storm. Alongside her legendary partnership with Target, making her own healthy haircare line called Donna’s Recipe, being named Equity Partner of Orro, developing a Calm Sleep Story, partnering with McCormick on her signature Sunshine Seasoning, and working on her second book, she has continuously grown her craft as an actress. She has landed notable theatrical features on major network shows such as Will & Grace, The Chi and The Conners in addition to co-creating and starring in her own children’s show with YouTube Originals, Tab Time. Having earned the coined title of “America’s mom” with her 12 million plus followers across platforms, Tabitha teaches all of us about having faith, perseverance, paving our own unique path to achieving dreams and being our authentic selves.

Fans can join the conversation using #ItsCompliPlated and go behind the scenes with Tabitha by following Food Network’s social pages. Get exclusive tips from Tabitha on vegan essentials, check out insider photos from set, and watch sneak peeks each week at FoodNetwork.com/ItsCompliPlated.

It’s CompliPlated is produced by World of Wonder for Food Network and discovery+.

Ree Drummond (pictured at far left)  in “Big Bad Budget Battle” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

This summer,  Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, celebrates crafty cooking and smart-shopping on the new primetime competition series Big Bad Budget Battle, premiering on Food Network on Tuesday August 9, 2022, at 10pm ET/PT and streaming same day on discovery+. In each of the six hour-long episodes, three talented home cooks, with a knack for transforming every day affordable ingredients into mouthwatering meals, will be challenged to shop on a budget in the ultimate grocery store – Flavortown Market. With only a small stash of cash, they must buy all the ingredients needed to make the best inexpensive and delicious dish they can. Only the best cook and thriftiest shopper will take home the trophy and a whole year’s worth of groceries.

“I can’t wait for viewers to see these awesome home cooks in action, both with their creativity in the kitchen and their budget-shopping skills – they are truly something to behold! As a home cook myself, I’m impressed by their resourcefulness and ingenuity as they plan, shop, and prepare their incredible dishes,” said Drummond.

In each episode, the home cooks must save money, time, and headaches in the kitchen to create next-level meals.  From dishes made only from pantry items to reimagined leftovers, their cooking abilities will be tested in two rounds of relatable challenges. They need to pinch pennies so they don’t blow their budget, make thrifty and delicious brunches and elevated one-pot dinner party meals. Ree, along with a panel of rotating judges including, Darnell Ferguson, Eddie Jackson, Beau MacMillan, Catherine McCord, Damaris Phillips, and Justin Warner will decide the winner. In the end, the best cook and savviest saver will take home the trophy and one year’s worth of groceries.   

“Each week fans tune in to see what Ree is cooking up on The Pioneer Woman– they love her warmth, down-to-earth style, easy relatability and wry sense of humor that makes everyone want to pull up a chair in her kitchen.  These same qualities make her the perfect host to oversee this fast-paced culinary competition that takes a page from real-world conundrums like grocery shopping on a budget and finding cost effective ingredients to make incredible meals Big Bad Budget Battle is action-packed and full of tips and takeaways for viewers to incorporate at home,” said Jane Latman, President, Home & Food Content and Streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Fans can get Ree’s top tips and recipes for saving time and money at FoodNetwork.com/BigBadBudgetBattle. Follow the competition on social media using #BigBadBudgetBattle and share your favorite budget-friendly dishes.

Big Bad Budget Battle is executive produced by Guy Fieri from his production company, Knuckle Sandwich, and Lando Entertainment for Food Network and discovery+.

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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than  220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products which also include: Discovery Channel, discovery+, CNN, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery. With the largest-ever content offering at launch, discovery+ features a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular passion verticals including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com, or find the discovery+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

2022 Puppy Bowl: See photos and videos

(Photo courtesy of Discovery+/Animal Planet)

The following is a press release from Discovery+ and Animal Planet:

Everyone’s favorite other game is back in action for the ultimate woof-a-thon. The original call-to-adoption television event and cutest sports competition, PUPPY BOWL, returns for its 18th year, highlighting more shelters, more incredible stories, and the most puppies ever featured in PUPPY BOWL history. Get ready to cheer on the adoptable puppy players of TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF as they give it their all to catch air-speed and take home this year’s CHEWY “Lombarky” trophy. Catch all the action in the GEICO ‘stadium within a stadium’ that takes this game to the next level. Between ear pulls, tail tugs, sloppy kisses, incredible interceptions, puppy penalties and hard-won touchdowns, this is the game you don’t want to miss! Tune in to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, the 3-hour spectacular event that can be streamed on discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service, and Animal Planet on Sunday, February 13 at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT.

PUPPY BOWL celebrates adoptable pups in all their cuteness and showcases the incredible shelters and rescues, as well as their staffers, who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their fur-ever loving homes. This year an astounding 67 shelters and rescues from 33 states bring 118 incredible adoptable puppy players out to sport their TEAM RUFF ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’ and TEAM FLUFF ‘Bark Blue’ bandana colors. Each pup player is coming to strut their paws and show off their uniqueness, and with the help of the Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test, we’ll find out what’s beyond those bandanas and luscious fur, and how each dog’s breed mix might give them a leg-up on the field. And on top of these hidden traits which may be revealed, these players will give it their all to chase, fetch, guard, heel, and sprint to the CHEWY end zone pylons for the ultimate touchdowns and score game catching field goals on THE HOME DEPOT goal posts.  

Thanks to our returning and notoriously entertaining slo-mo cam, fans will get to see these canines’ devotion to the game as they put their tricks to the test to score a touchdown and a possible chase of the tail. While showing off their tricks and shakes, audiences will get the pawesome views from the water bowl cam which will catch our furry friends in a PEDIGREE® timeout to re-energize their quirky selves and quench their thirst. For the ultimate top-notch aerial view, the TEMPTATIONS™ Kitty Sky Box will also be featured throughout the game so fans can feel as if they’re in the center of all the puppy madness. 

The PUPPY BOWL XVIII Pre-Game Show begins exclusively on discovery+ and Animal Planet at 1PM ET/ 10AM PT where fan-favorite PUPPY BOWL sportscasters Rodt Weiler, Sheena Inu, James Hound, and field reports Mini Pinscher and Greta Dane provide the inside scoop on this year’s Puppy Bowl Draft ahead of the big game. The pre-game show spotlights exclusive interviews with coaches and players, a look at the adorable pups warming up and running their favorite routes during CHEWY’s ‘Play of the Day.’ In addition, audiences will get a first-look tease at the purr-fect halftime show through the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ Kitty Halftime Report. We’ll also get puppy DNA analysis from Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test Players Report and catch up with several special puppy players past and present including Chunky Monkey, who won the hearts of many during Puppy Bowl XVII and Marshall, who was declared victorious as the winner of the Puppy Bowl XVII ‘Pupularity Playoff”. Those who tune-in will meet Biscuit, the Washington Capitals service pup who is training with America’s VetDogs and see a special look at the BISSELL Pet FoundationTM and their rescue efforts of transporting cats and dogs out of the Hurricane Ida danger zone to safety at Animal Welfare League in Alexandria, VA. 

To kick off the game, special guests Elmo & Tango are traveling all the way from Sesame Street to gather the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup players in the center of the field for the PUPPY BOWL XVIII coin toss to who from Team Fluff or Team Ruff will be the first to wag their tails! In addition, Elmo & Tango will be featured throughout the game as they cheer on one unforgettable pup, Wasabi, a Chihuahua/Cocker Spaniel mix from The Sato Project, from the sidelines throughout the game. As the game progresses, we will see which pup has what it takes for the one and only BISSELL Pet FoundationTM MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns. This pup will join a league of past MVP champions, and through TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, audiences will catch up with a previous Puppy Bowl MVP now in his loving, forever home and living his best life “on Tropic Time”. Be sure to tune in to find out which lucky pup will also take home the coveted SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Underdog Award! 

And of course, Dan Schachner, PUPPY BOWL’s official and favorite Ruff-eree is returning for his 11th year of calling the puppy penalties, ruffs stumbles & tumbles, and awesome touchdowns for a game unlike any other. Dan is ready for the ultimate puppy showdown and fans will hear all these calls and more from returning commentators Steve Levy and Taylor Rooks as they give us the play-by-play coverage of the rambunctious pups of Team Fluff and Team Ruff as they frolic, jump, dive, and occasionally snooze their way to victory. In addition to seeing these puppy players on the field, audiences will also see the return of the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Pup Close and Personal segments that shine a light on adorable star athletes including one special Senior Spotlight story which showcases that age is just a number and senior dogs are ultimately puppies at heart. This year’s Pup Close and Personal features various segments including:

  • A special profile on Orange Twins Rescue, started by Ariana Grande and her choreographers and creative directors’, twins Scott & Brian, who accompany a pair of bonded Siberian Husky/ Chihuahua mix puppy sisters, Bimini & Tayce to Farm Animal Refuge in San Diego where they meet baby goats and cows
  • Kirby, a very special Labrador retriever who is the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training in partnership with America’s Vet Dogs, who visits NRG Stadium for a service practice session with Texans player Justin Reid
  • Hoku, a American Staffordshire Terrier/ Catahoula Leopard Mix; and Puppy Bowl’s first ever Hawaiian pup, from Maui Humane Society, who as a participant of the rescue’s ‘Buddies’ program, embarks on a special field trip to a hike in Maui’s National Parks where we learn about the legend of the ‘Poi’ dogs of ancient Polynesian culture
  • Birch, a Chihuahua / Toy Fox Terrier mix who is cared for by a special foster under Ninna’s Road to Rescue foster program and is coached for the big game by Puppy Bowl XVI alum, Darcy
  • Benny, a special needs Labradoodle, who is living his best life with a foster from Bosley’s Place where he spends his days practicing laps on the lush property with his fellow dog companions
  • A special look at The Dogist (Elias Weiss Friedman) who teams up with Pilots to the Rescue, to bring one incredible Dalmatian puppy, Pongo, on a flight from a Virginia shelter to New York City for PUPPY BOWL XVIII

 In addition to these incredible Pup Close stories, PUPPY BOWL XVIII will also feature an unforgettable senior spotlight story featuring Mr. Lee Asher from the upcoming discovery+ series, My Pack Life, as he hosts Sharkey, a Greyhound Mix from Family Dogs New Life shelter at his own rural sanctuary, The Asher House, in Oregon where Sharkey will not have a day full of adventure but will have a chance of finding a forever home.  

During the game, audiences will also meet nine fuzzball special needs players that are looking forward to finding their forever home; including Benny, a wheelchair bound Labradoodle featured in one of this year’s Pup Close stories; Forrest, a one-eyed Neapolitan Mastiff/Cane Corso Mix; Rocket, a deaf Chihuahua/Dachshund: Pongo, a deaf Dalmatian; Ridley, a deaf and vision impaired Border Collie; Bunny, a deaf American Staffordshire Terrier/Labrador Retriever Mix; Moby, a French Bulldog with a cleft palate; Bimini, a vision impaired Siberian Husky/Chihuahua Mix; and Irwin, a three-legged ​​American Pit Bull Terrier/Chihuahua Mix. This year’s big game will feature the return of two special PUPPY BOWL moments. First, TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF players will be cheered by adorable, adoptable puppy cheerleaders who will root and howl for their favorite players from the sidelines. This year, the new cheer squad will bring-it from their own special sideline setup to shake their pom poms, run a few cheer-formations, and amp up the volume with an overload of cuteness as PUPPY BOWL XVIII players make their way down the field. Next, audiences will again see Puppy Bowl’s ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments, hosted by Dan Schachner and sponsored by CHEWY. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their puppies (and 3 shelters with kittens during KITTY HALF-TIME) that are all up for adoption during the game! 

In addition to these unforgettable moments, put your paws together midway through the game for the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW for these adoptable kittens at their practically purr-fect beach party. At this ocean-side getaway, audiences will experience the beach-tastic party with these felines having some fun in the sun and learning about their heartwarming adoption stories in their loving new fur-ever home.

Fans can also access even more furry fun and exclusive content by downloading discovery+. Leading up to PUPPY BOWL XVIII, discovery+ and Animal Planet GO users will find exclusive in-app original programming, including the PUPPY BOWL mid-form series “Pupclose & Personal” featuring Ariana Grande’s best friends and choreographers, Scott and Brian Nicholson, who founded Orange Twins Rescue, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates and rescue animals in need. Plus, we’ll also see Dan the Ref take us down memory lane, highlighting the very best and firsts of Puppy Bowl’s 17-year history. Additionally, fans are also invited to Tweet along with game day commentator Meep the Bird and vote in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award. Results will be revealed during the epic program.

For the first time in Puppy Bowl history, there will be 23 exclusive Puppy Bowl NFTs released leading up to and on the day of the game hosted by Chronicle, an NFT studio and marketplace. Each drop will feature unique and pawsitively adorable trading cards varying in price and rarity, and a portion of the proceeds from all the sales will benefit Orange Twins Rescue, an animal rescue organization founded by brothers Scott and Brian Nicholson, and Ariana Grande. For the latest on when the NFTs are releasing, follow along on Animal Planet’s TwitterInstagramFacebook, and TikTok.

Additionally, fans can look forward to the following exclusive digital content: Elmo will be taking over Discovery’s Instagram Story to tell his own puppy adoption story; Kirby, the Houston Texans’ service pup in-training, will be hosting a Discovery Instagram Story takeover as he prepares to play in the Puppy Bowl; and the cutest pregame puppy scrimmage will stream live on Animal Planet TikTok the day of the game.

Fans can also show off their puppy fandom by using the special custom GIF sticker pack available by searching “Puppy Bowl” in the GIF section on social platforms or by visiting the Puppy Bowl GIPHY page

Official PUPPY BOWL XVIII sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, BISSELL Pet FoundationTM, CHEWY, GEICO, THE HOME DEPOT, the PEDIGREE® brand, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE®, and Wisdom Panel™ pet DNA test. 

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XVIII, Animal Planet audiences can visit Puppybowl.com/Adopt. 

PUPPY BOWL XVIII is produced for discovery+ and Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company. Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner with Suzanne Rauscher and Sandy Varo Jarrell also serving as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Erin Wanner is executive producer, Pat Dempsey is supervising producer, and Marissa Donovan is production coordinator.

PUPPY BOWL XVIII PLAYERS

Discovery+ premieres ‘The Mighty Underdogs’ reality show about junior handlers in major dog shows

November 2, 2021

A scene from “The Mighty Underdogs” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

The absolute pinnacle of the fierce world of dog show competitions are the AKC National Championship and the Westminster Dog Show, but it takes countless hours of practice, grit, and determination to get there.And while the adult competitions are fierce, emotions run higher in the junior division where kids are still learning the ropes of competition on top of figuring out who they are as individuals and where they fit in the world. In this all-new coming-of-age competition series, THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS brings a never-before-seen look inside Junior Showmanship where teen handlers compete among thousands for one of the limited, and highly coveted spots at the Westminster Dog Show, while also navigating the everyday journey of being a typical teenager! Get ready to meet this unique group of champions who reveal the heart, spirit, and what it ultimately takes to be “best in show.” The first two episodes of THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS stream exclusively on discovery+ beginning Wednesday, November 17, 2021, with new episodes streaming every following Wednesday.

In THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS, it’s not just the dogs who are judged—it’s also the aspiring teen dog handlers. And that’s where world-renowned coach Jody Davidson comes in, with her long-standing record of winning dog competitions and guiding these young adults each step of the way on their path to self-discovery. The teen handlers and their enthusiastic parents learn exactly what it takes to stand out from the crowd and ultimately take home the winning title. And while the drama may heat up with each dog show, Jody’s group of teens are true athletes who support each other and have each other’s backs through the thick and thin of each competition.

In this all-new series, audiences will see these ambitious, quirky, and curious kids learn the tricks of the trade as they embark on the journey of growing up and learning more and more about who they are. We’ll meet the latest team members from Jody’s group of competitors; 13-year-old Emerson who has to make the decision of retiring her beloved dog Rye from the ring and start from scratch with a brand new puppy; 11-year of Griffin, Emerson’s little brother, who has big dreams of becoming the best of the best, and even beating his sister in the competition; 16-year-old Turner who hopes to make the Nationals before he ages out of the age-based competition, while also balancing his relationship with girlfriend, Emma, whom he competes within the ring; 13-year-old Camryn who is obsessed with getting that first prize ribbon with her show-stopping Pomeranian Kevin; and 13-year-old, Lily, who is busy showing her dog Gnarly as she works tirelessly to overcome her social anxiety inside and out of the ring, while also exploring and growing into her own identity.

Follow the conversation on social media with #TheMightyUnderdogs, and follow Animal Planet on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates.

THE MIGHTY UNDERDOGS is produced for Discovery by Catalina Content. For Catalina Content, Jeff Collins and Brenda Coston are executive producers. For Discovery, Keith Hoffman is executive producer and Sarah Russell is supervising producer.

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About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

Discovery+ debuts ‘Well Done With Sebastian Maniscalco’

June 17, 2021

Sebastian Maniscalco in “Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco” (Photo courtesy of Discovery Networks)

The following is a press release from Discovery+:

Groundbreaking comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is not a chef and don’t dare call him a “foodie,” but he is obsessed with food – and in the new discovery+ series “Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco” he takes a deep dive into the gastronomic world from every angle. Filled with his signature social observations, commentary and appearances from his wife Lana and mom Rose, Sebastian is all in to explore the food-centric topics he has always been curious about. During his culinary education, he finds himself exploring the similarities between sushi and comedy with comedian Russell Peters, powering through a bout of sea sickness during a fishing adventure, throwing a meat-centric dinner party for guests including Bert Kreischer and Anjelah Johnson, and going on sandwich expeditions with funny pals Rich Eisen, Fortune Feimster, Gillian Jacobs and Oscar Nuñez. “Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco” premieres Thursday, August 12, 2021 on discovery+ with three episodes and the remaining episodes will roll out every Thursday for the following four weeks.

“This series came out of my passion for cooking and comedy. I thought… what better way to marry the two than a tv show centered around the culinary arts?” said Maniscalco. “Filming it was so exciting! I loved all the guests that we had, and I think we provide some really good information about food as well as some fantastic comedic moments.”

“This is one of the funniest shows we’ve ever done – Sebastian is an inimitable talent and his signature sense of humor sets the tone for every episode,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Cooking Channel. “He has a lot of thoughts, questions and opinions about food and joining him to hilariously analyze the culinary world is a must-see.”

“Sebastian’s obsession with food, combined with his comedic genius, makes for the perfect discovery+ series,” said Lisa Holme, Group SVP Content and Commercial Strategy. “The same qualities that make Sebastian’s comedy so special – his curiosity, intelligence and cutting observations – also make his exploration of food something that will truly whet the appetite of our streaming subscribers.”

After a year off the road, Sebastian Maniscalco is back with his new Nobody Does This Tour. Recognized by both Billboard and Pollstar with top touring awards, Nobody Does This follows a string of record-breaking, sold-out arena shows from his Stay Hungry and You Bother Me tours including the United Center in his hometown of Chicago, Boston’s TD Garden, The Forum in LA and New York’s Madison Square Garden. That success follows a number of blockbuster years for the comedian, author and actor the New York Times calls “the hottest comic in America.” In addition to releasing a best-selling memoir, “Stay Hungry,” and original comedy special also titled “Stay Hungry,” the comic hosted the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards and landed roles in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated The Irishman as well as Green Book, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. For more information and tour updates visit sebastianlive.com.

Fans can visit discovery+ and Food Network’s social pages to get to know Sebastian in all-new exclusive interviews on set. Plus, relive the most-hilarious moments from the show and see how Sebastian is cooking up some of his favorite foods… well done. Join the conversation online using #WellDoneWithSebastian.

Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco is produced by What’s Wrong with People? Inc. and Triage Entertainment.

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discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

October 14, 2021 UPDATE:

WELL DONE WITH SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO SEASON ONE JOINS

FOOD NETWORK PRIMETIME LINEUP ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16TH AT 10PM ET/PT

Season Two Begins Streaming Same Day on discovery+

NEW YORK – October 14, 2021 – Groundbreaking comedian Sebastian Maniscalco combines his passion for food and comedy in Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco, which has its Food Network debut on Tuesday, November 16th at 10pm ET/PT with back-to-back episodes. In the seven-episode first season, he takes a deep dive into the gastronomic world from every angle.  Filled with his signature social observations, commentary and appearances from his family and famous pals, Sebastian is all in to explore the food-centric topics he has always been curious about.  In his first outing, he spends a day on the Pacific to find out what it takes to be a fisherman and see if fish actually tastes better when you catch it yourself – but first he has to overcome a brutal bout of seasickness. In upcoming episodes, he finds himself exploring the similarities between sushi and comedy with comedian Russell Peters, throwing a meat-centric dinner party for guests including Bert Kreischer and Anjelah Johnson, and going on sandwich expeditions with funny pals Rich Eisen, Fortune Feimster, Gillian Jacobs and Oscar Nuñez.  Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco, which premiered in August on discovery+, also starts streaming its second season Tuesday, November 16th on discovery+.

“With Well Done I’m mixing my two passions for humor and the culinary arts in a way that translates to anyone who is passionate about food and serious about comedy,” shares Maniscalco. “What better place to share that than Food Network. Excited for those viewers to see what we’ve been up to on season one and can’t wait to share new episodes on discovery+ with season two!”

“Sebastian’s true obsession with food and the culinary arts combined with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor have made Well Done a must-watch,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc.  “We are excited to bring the series to Food Network and launch season two on discovery+ to satisfy our audience who clearly wants more Sebastian.”

After a year off the road, Sebastian Maniscalco is back with his new Nobody Does This Tour. Recognized by both Billboard and Pollstar with top touring awards, Nobody Does This follows a string of record-breaking, sold-out arena shows from his Stay Hungry and You Bother Me tours including the United Center in his hometown of Chicago, Boston’s TD Garden, The Forum in LA and New York’s Madison Square Garden.  That success follows a number of blockbuster years for the comedian, author and actor the New York Times calls “the hottest comic in America.” In addition to releasing a best-selling memoir, Stay Hungry, and original comedy special also titled “Stay Hungry,” the comic hosted the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards and landed roles in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated The Irishman as well as Green Book, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. For more information and tour updates visit sebastianlive.com.

Fans can visit Food Network’s social pages for interviews, hilarious moments from the show and see how Sebastian is cooking up some of his favorite foods… well done. Join the conversation online using #WellDoneWithSebastian.

Well Done with Sebastian Maniscalco is produced by What’s Wrong with People? Inc. and Triage Entertainment.

# # #

FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world and spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+ and Food Network Kitchen, along with premium brands Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport.

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

Review: ‘Attack of the Murder Hornets,’ starring Chris Looney, Ted McFall, Ruthie Danielsen, Philip Bovenkamp, Sven-Erik Spichiger, Conrad Bérubé and Jamie Pollander

March 8, 2021

by Carla Hay

An Asian giant hornet in “Attack of the Murder Hornets” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

“Attack of the Murder Hornets”

Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson

Culture Representation: The documentary “Attack of the Murder Hornets” features a predominantly white group of people (with one of Indian heritage and one of Native American heritage) who were involved in some way in the 2020 high-profile case of tracking down a deadly Asian giant hornet nest in Washington state.

Culture Clash: Handling this problem takes the work of private citizens and the government, which sometimes conflict with each other.

Culture Audience: “Attack of the Murder Hornets” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in nature/environmental documentaries that are told in an engaging, storytelling style.

An Asian giant hornet in “Attack of the Murder Hornets” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

The documentary “Attack of the Murder Hornets” is styled very much like a true-crime documentary about authorities trying to track down a serial killer. But instead of a human murderer that’s being hunted, it’s a pack of Asian giant hornets that can massacre thousands of bees at a time. You don’t have to be a scientist or someone who normally watches nature documentaries to enjoy this movie, because it’s told in a very appealing way that anyone can understand.

Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson, “Attack of the Murder Hornets” gives a brief overview of why these hornets, which have been nicknamed “murder hornets,” are dangerous for the environment. Asian giant hornets can wipe out entire colonies of bees, by biting off the heads of bees and eating their torsos. Bees are necessary for the pollination that helps keep the environment healthy and productive. These hornets don’t just sting; they also release poisonous venom. And yes, humans can die from a serious attack by these hornets.

No one really knows how the hornets got from Asia to North America, but enough of them have been found that governments have put together task forces to eradicate the hornets before these deadly insects can cause a serious plague. “Attack of the Murder Hornets” focuses on one such “hornet hunt” that took place in Blaine, Washington, in 2020. The documentary is riveting and insightful in showing how everything was planned and how the task force dealt with some unexpected setbacks.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” begins by showing an example of the type of damage that Asian giant hornets can cause. Ted McFall, a beekeeper in Blaine, is interviewed about the time in December 2019, when he got the shock of his life: He found about 60,000 of his honey bees (including the queen bee) dead. All of the bees’ heads were bitten off.

As McFall tells it, he didn’t know what to think at first. Was it a cruel prank? Was it some kind of freak accident? Or was it an animal attack? McFall, whose father was a beekeeper and passed on the family business to him, comments in the documentary about how he felt about seeing so many of his bees dead: “It’s kind of like finding a family pet or maybe a family member that got killed, and you have no idea who did it or what did it or what the heck happened.”

McFall gets choked up and emotional when he thinks of this devastating loss. He remembers the reaction of his wife Dorothy, who has a business selling arts and crafts made from beeswax: She said, “It was like a murder scene.” And just like anyone who experiences this kind of loss, Ed McFall wanted to find out what happened and punish the perpetrators.

It wasn’t long before Ed McFall got the answer to the mystery. That same month, a Blaine resident named Jeff Kornelis, who lives two miles from what the documentary calls the “murder scene,” found a dead Asian giant hornet on his property. According to what Kornelis says in the documentary, he took a photo of the hornet, posted it on Reddit, and asked people if they knew what this mystery insect was.

He was advised to take this information to the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC). WISC referred the case to WSDA. The documentary includes interviews with WSDA employees, such as hornet hotline operator Jessica LaBelle, chief entomologist Sven-Erik Spichiger and lab technician Quin Baine.

Spichiger remembers the first time he saw the hornet that was found on Kornelis’ property, he was taken aback by the large size of the hornet: “It was quite shocking because it looked like a child’s toy. It was so much larger than the other hornets that we dealt with.”

The documentary also interviews Japanese scientist Ryouta Sakamoto, who talks about the deadly effects that Asian giant hornets can have on humans and other animals if the population of these hornets is not kept under control. Sakamoto mentions that bees in Japan have learned how to kill these hornets on their own (by surrounding the hornets and causing the bees’ body heat to cook the hornets alive), but bees in North America have not learned how to defend themselves against Asian giant hornets.

Another beekeeper named Ruthie Danielsen, who lives six miles from the McFall family, heard about the bee massacre and became alarmed that the hornets would kill other bees in the area, including her own. She and Eric McFall decided to join forces when they found out that government agencies were too underfunded and understaffed to take care of the problem. Danielsen and other beekeepers in the area began setting up their own homemade traps specifically for the hornets. (Rancid rice water is a popular lure.)

Danielsen says in the documentary that taking a grassroots, private-citizen approach to the problem was not only necessary but also in her nature: “I don’t think it’s okay to say, ‘Let someone else take care of it.'” She formed a task force to deal with Asian giant hornets and implemented a system where people could volunteer to drop off dead Asian giant hornets at a designated place. Many of the hornets were deliberately trapped, while others were not. The dead hornets were then given to WSDA for research.

Also interviewed in the documentary is New York Times reporter Mike Barker, who broke the story in the newspaper about the Asian giant hornet being found in Washington state. The story became international news to the point where the Washington state government was pressured to put more funding into decreasing the Asian giant hornet population in Washington state. And so, the hornet hunt that’s chronicled in this documentary was ultimately a hunt that was a government-funded operation.

Two places became crucial in the hornet hunt that’s documented in this movie: First was the WSDA’s Natural Resources Building Entomology Laboratory (described in the documentary as Hornet Hunter Headquarters) in Olympia, Washington. And the second place (in Seattle) was the University of Washington’s Insect Robot Lab, which provided the miniature tracking devices that were placed on the trapped hornets. A University of Washington Ph. D. student named Vikram Iyer explains in the movie how the tracking device works. The tracking devices, which could be attached to the hornets by glue or by string, would give the investigators the ability to let the hornets loose and then hopefully be able to track the hornets back to their well-hidden hornet nest.

Leading the task force is WSDA scientist Chris Looney, who describes himself as being suited for a job where he doesn’t have to sit in an office all day and take orders. He also says he’s the type of person who’s more inclined to think that things will go wrong instead of going right, so that he doesn’t lose his cool when something doesn’t go according to plan. And mishaps and unexpected problems do indeed happen during this hornet hunt.

Someone who is part of the hunt is Conrad Bérubé, who is credited with being the first person to kill a colony of Asian giant hornets in North America. He found the deadly hornets in Nanaimo, British Columbia, in 2019. Bérubé, who is longtime insect expert, exterminated the hornets by gassing them with carbon dioxide. He didn’t walk away unscathed, since he was injured by several hornet stings.

And, as shown in the documentary, Bérubé is a hero to Ted McFall, who is extremely eager to get revenge on the hornets that killed his bees. (“They’re going to be sent back to hell, where they came from,” Ted McFall sneers about the hornets at one point in the movie.) In a lighthearted moment, the documentary shows Ted McFall meeting Bérubé and acting almost like a star-struck fan, as he happily takes selfies with Bérubé. There’s also footage of Bérubé, who’s an outdoor hippie type, trying to find the hornet nest on his own, although he doesn’t have the advantage of the tracking device.

Another person who played an important part of the hunt is Philip Bovenkamp, a private citizen who found more than one Asian giant hornet on his property and was able to singlehandedly catch them and hand them over to the WSDA for research purposes. His family and neighbors are shown taking video footage with their phones during the hunt. And his daughter (who looks like she was about 9 or 10 when this documentary was filmed) expresses some sadness that these hornets will be killed when they’re found.

And then there’s farmer Jamie Pollander, who owns the property where much of the hunt takes place. The documentary shows how Pollander made a controversial decision that didn’t sit well with several members of the team, such as Looney. There’s some foreshadowing of this decision when someone tells Pollander that finding a hornet’s nest for this team would be like hitting the lottery, and Pollander says that he wishes he could hit the lottery.

Given that this hunt took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are scenes where people have to wear masks and social distance. And there are other scenes where people who don’t live in the same household aren’t wearing masks but are standing next to each other. (Maybe they tested negative for COVID-19 and felt safe in going maskless.)

Considering how deadly these hornets are, viewers might be surprised at how little protection many of the people have on the hunt. For example, Looney often handles the hornets without wearing anything on his hands. The beekeepers wear more protection (such as a full-body beekeeper suit) in their line of work than the scientists do on this hornet hunt, even though the hornets they’re looking for are a lot more dangerous than bees.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” is accessible viewing for non-scientists and, at times, the movie is very suspenseful in telling this interesting story. Under the direction of Stephenson, the documentary achieves the right mix of being informative and entertaining. The film’s editing by Samantha Smart and music by Julian Cisneros are very effective in adding levels of tension and urgency to what the task force ends up doing.

This isn’t a nature documentary with people droning on and on, as if they’re giving a lecture in a science class. Nor is it a documentary that relies heavily on gimmicks such on re-enactments or animation. The movie takes viewers out into the places where all the action is happening in real time for this hornet hunt.

“Attack of the Murder Hornets” was obviously made with the filmmakers not knowing what the final outcome would be. And so, that level of the unknown makes the suspense more genuine. The movie succeeds in showing a more human side to the scientists and beekeepers who have to deal with this hornet problem directly. And it’s a cautionary tale about the delicate balance of protecting the environment without destroying too much of a species that’s needed to keep the environment stable.

Discovery+ premiered “Attack of the Murder Hornets” on February 20, 2021

2021 IDCon: Dead of Winter announces lineup

February 9, 2021

The following is a press release from Discovery+

ID’s beloved fan appreciation event engagement event is returning for another virtual edition – this time with a streaming twist. Presenting the very best crime and mystery programming powered by ID and streaming at discovery+IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will Zoom the most coveted stars in the true crime business and the most jaw-dropping cases straight to fans in the comfort of their own couches – all for free. With IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER, armchair detectives can face the dreary doldrums together and commiserate about the cases that keep them up at night, with special appearances by their favorite faces in the genre throughout the evening event. Attendees will receive sneak peeks of upcoming true crime offerings from discovery+, and registered fans will be treated to surprises, insider knowledge, and a chance to have their own burning fan questions answered.

Fans can join the sixth annual IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER via Zoom on Saturday, February 27 beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Sign up for a special link to enter the event, be entered for surprises, and submit questions for the panels at IDCONDeadofWinter.com. In lieu of an attendance fee, ID is encouraging donations to nonprofit organizations that we support, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In addition to sneak peeks and special appearances by Paula Zahn, Candice DeLongJohn WalshChris Anderson and Fatima Silva, IDCON: DEAD OF WINTER will have six confirmed panel sessions, outlined below:

American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda

New episodes released Wednesdays on discovery+

After nine seasons captivating viewers with his own haunting cases, ID’s Homicide Hunter Lt. Joe Kenda brings viewers astounding investigations from across the country in American Detective. Join Detective Dan from the hit podcast ”Small Town Dicks” as he catches up with the Kendas in quarantine, chats about Joe’s  upcoming book “Killer Triggers,” and they shed light on why small town crimes still deserve big attention.

In Pursuit: The Missing with Callahan Walsh

Special begins streaming on Sunday, March 7 

With the acute understanding of someone whose family has been through the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child, join victim’s advocate Callahan Walsh as he actively investigates two mysterious disappearances and shines a light on additional unsolved missing persons cases from around the country. Callahan will give fans an exclusive sneak peek of his new special The Missing, as well as share breaking news about his fugitive-catching series with his legendary father, In Pursuit with John Walsh.

Unraveled: The Real Story of the Long Island Serial Killer

Unraveled” podcast available now; Special begins streaming on Tuesday March 9

Against a backdrop of police corruption, sexual misconduct, and cover-ups at the highest levels of the Suffolk County Police Department lies one of the most frustrating serial killer cases in recent history. Join retired police sergeant Derrick Levasseur (Breaking Homicide”Crime Weekly”) as he leads a discussion with true crime journalists, Alexis Linkletter and Billy Jensento reveal the disturbing evidence they’ve uncovered behind just why the case of the Long Island Serial Killer has remained unsolved for more than a decade.

Onision: In Real Life

Streaming now on discovery+

After an explosive special exposed allegations of predatory behavior and grooming against the influencer Greg Jackson, known online as ‘Onision,’ YouTube finally took action and demonetized the controversial figure. Now, Jackson’s ex-fiancé and one of the first accusers to come forward, Shiloh, will share her first-hand accounts of Jackson’s behavior, with internet safety advocate Alicia Kozak joining to speak to influencer culture and the dangers of online criminals. The discussion will dive deep into this dark YouTube controversy, and hint at what is yet to come in the jaw-dropping final episode currently in production. 

Barry Levine Author Chat from ID BOOK CLUB Selection, “The Spider: Inside the Criminal Web of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell” 

“The Spider” is available for purchase nowWho Killed Jeffrey Epstein? is available to stream now

Former Brooklyn, New York prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi (True Conviction”Anatomy of Murder”) hosts a discussion with author Barry Levine about his explosive investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case. By shining a light into the darkest corners of Epstein’s world, Levine unearths never-before-reported details in the most comprehensive account yet of the disgraced financier’s life, corrupt criminal web, and shocking death. The sordid tale doesn’t end there, and the two will discuss how Ghislaine Maxwell’s entanglement with Epstein has landed her in a Brooklyn jail cell, awaiting trial on several counts of sex trafficking minors and perjury.

Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygård

Streaming now on discovery+

Peter Nygård built an international fashion empire and led an extravagant lifestyle, but hiding beneath the outlandish public persona, scores of women claim, was a dangerous sexual predator. More than 80 women have joined a class action lawsuit accusing Nygård and his companies of rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking. Their accusations led to an investigation by the FBI and Nygård’s December arrest in Canada. Hear from survivors and those closest to the Nygård saga who exposed his alleged crimes and discover what is being done now to finally hold him accountable.

You can follow discovery+ on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

February 27, 2021 UPDATE: The following is the livestream of IDCON 2021:

Review: ‘JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?,’ starring John Ramsey, Cindy Marra, Mark Smit, Paula Woodward, John Anderson, John San Agustin and Greg Walta

January 25, 2021

by Carla Hay

JonBenét Ramsey in “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (Photo courtesy of Polaris/Discovery+)

“JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?”

Directed by Kim Duke

Culture Representation: The documentary “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” features a nearly all-white group of people (and one Asian) discussing the murder case of JonBenét Ramsey, a Colorado rich girl who was brutally killed on Christmas Day 1996, when she was 6 years old.

Culture Clash: The unsolved case has been controversial because investigators and prosecutors disagree over evidence and who might be the prime suspect or suspects.

Culture Audience: “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” will appeal primarily to people interested in this case or in true crime overall, but the documentary does not reveal any new facts that are helpful to this case.

Lou Smit in “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (Photo courtesy of Discovery+)

Because there have already been so many news reports and documentaries about the JonBenét Ramsey case, any new ones that come along almost never have new information that can help make progress in the case. Almost every documentary about the case seems to have an agenda to push only one or two theories of who killed JonBenét Ramsey, the 6-year-old girl who was murdered on Christmas Day 1996 in her millionaire family home in Boulder, Colorado. This highly disputed case remains unsolved because there are conflicting accounts about the crime-scene evidence and numerous theories about who committed the murder.

It’s rare for a JonBenét Ramsey documentary to truly include perspectives of people who have very diverse viewpoints and theories about the case. “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (directed by Kim Duke) is one of those “agenda” documentaries, because it seems less concerned about interviewing people with a variety of perspectives and more concerned about being a one-sided tribute to Andrew “Lou” Smit, who was a prominent investigator for the Boulder district attorney’s office on the JonBenét Ramsey case. He was also an unpaid private investigator for the case when he stopped working for the Boulder D.A.’s office.

Smit (who died of cancer in 2010, at the age of 75) firmly believed that an unknown intruder or intruders committed the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. The documentary includes interviews with people who say the same thing (including JonBenét’s father John Ramsey), but not any interviews with people who believe in other theories. Furthermore, a copious amount of time in the documentary looks like a fawning biography of Smit instead of a well-rounded investigation that looks at all sides of this contentious murder case.

The documentary pushes a narrative that Smit was a crusading and often-misunderstood investigator who constantly battled over this case with the Boulder Police Department, because the Boulder PD immediately put JonBenét Ramsey’s parents at the top of the list of suspects. The documentary (which uses a lot of the same archival footage that’s been in many other JonBenét Ramsey documentaries) includes clips from Smit’s personal diary-type audio tapes that he made during the investigation. However, these audio tapes do not reveal anything new, unless you want to hear some ranting from Smit about how he felt mistreated by the Boulder PD. An epilogue in the documentary mentions that the Boulder PD declined to participate in the film, because the Boulder PD has a policy not to comment on the JonBenét Ramsey case.

It’s repeated several times in the documentary that Smit refused to believe the Ramseys could be guilty because he thought that they seemed like nice people. In his audio tapes, Smit says that people like the Ramseys don’t kill their children, and he had a gut feeling they weren’t guilty. What happened to the crime investigator rule that even if people who appear to be “nice,” it isn’t enough of a reason to decide that they can’t commit a crime? It’s about evidence, not personality. It’s no wonder that Smit got a lot of criticism for not being objective enough in this case.

Smit often accused the Boulder PD of having tunnel vision by not properly looking into other suspects. However, Smit displayed a certain amount of tunnel vision of his own with very biased actions during his investigation, by going out of his way to show the Ramseys that he was on their side. The documentary mentions that during Smit’s investigation while he was working for the Boulder D.A., Smit would park in front of the Ramseys’ house every day to pray for them and even invited John Ramsey to pray with him too. While this praying activity with a possible suspect might be considered noble by some people, it’s actually very unprofessional for a murder investigator to act this way with a witness who’s under suspicion while the investigator is working on the case.

Although there have been very divisive opinions on who committed the murder, these are the indisputable facts, which have been widely reported and are reiterated in the documentary: JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in her home sometime during the night or early-morning hours. Her parents (businessman John Bennett Ramsey and homemaker Patricia “Patsy” Ramsey) and JonBenét’s older brother Burke, who was 9 years old at the time, were also home at the time of the murder. All of them have denied having anything to do with the murder. The Boulder D.A. Office cleared the Ramseys as suspects in 2008, mainly because the Ramseys’ DNA did not match the unknown male DNA on JonBenét’s clothing that was on her dead body.

On the morning of December 26, 1996, Patsy called 911 to report that JonBenét was kidnapped. At the crime scene was a three-page, handwritten ransom note that was written on Patsy’s notepad and using a pen that was owned by the Ramseys. When the police arrived at the Ramseys’ 11,000-square-foot, three-story house, John and Patsy had already invited several of their friends and neighbors over to the home to comfort them. The Ramseys called some of these visitors over to the house before they called the police. Unfortunately, all of these people in the house inevitably contaminated the crime scene.

Instead of securing the crime scene and telling the visitors to leave, the Boulder police officers let the visitors stay and asked John to search the house again for JonBenét. John found JonBenét’s body in a basement-like area of the house. An autopsy determined that JonBenét had blunt force trauma to her head and had been strangled with a wiry cord that was still tightly wound around her neck. There are disagreements among investigators over whether she had been hit on the head first or had been strangled first. JonBenét had also been sexually violated with one of Patsy’s broken paintbrushes that was found near JonBenét’s body.

Although a former schoolteacher named John Mark Karr (born in 1964) confessed to the murder in 2006 and was arrested for it, it was later proven that Karr gave a false confession, and he was never prosecuted for the murder. He wasn’t even in Colorado when the murder happened, and his DNA did not match the DNA found at the crime scene. Karr is now living as a transgender female named Alexis Valoran Reich.

Whatever people think about the JonBenét Ramsey case, the main theories of who committed the murder identify these four possibilities:

  • John Ramsey
  • Patsy Ramsey
  • Burke Ramsey
  • An unknown intruder or intruders

People who believe that the Ramseys were involved think that the Ramseys know more than they’re telling and that the Ramsey family is covering up the truth. (Patsy died of cancer in 2006, at the age of 49.) The severe ligature strangulation of JonBenét indicates that it was done by an adult.

Those who think Burke was the real culprit have a theory that Burke brutally hit JonBenét on the head with an unknown object during an argument, and the blow possibly left her unconscious. According to the theory, John and Patsy found out and perhaps thought JonBenét was dead, and so the parents might have panicked because they were afraid of the scandal that it would cause their prominent family.

The “Ramseys are guilty” theory usually believes that John and/or Patsy then further assaulted JonBenét to establish another cause of death and to make it look like a stranger did it, in order to confuse investigators. A kidnapping was staged to also confuse investigators, according to the “Ramseys are guilty” theory. People who believe this theory think that even if one person in the Ramsey family actually committed the physical crime, the other family members who were home at the time eventually knew about it and helped cover it up.

Most people who think the Ramseys are guilty point to clues that the killer or killers seemed comfortable taking a lot of time to commit the crime without fear of being caught in the act. There was the highly unusual and long ransom note, written on a paper and pen from the Ramsey home. Handwriting analyses ruled out John as the writer of the note, while Patsy could neither be completely identified nor completely ruled out as the writer of the ransom note.

Everyone agrees that the words of the ransom note indicate that it was written by an educated adult. The only fingerprints found on the note were those from Patsy (who said she found the note), investigators and visitors who were in the house. The intruder theory is that the intruder could have worn gloves.

Another big clue, which was not mentioned in this documentary, was that the autopsy of JonBenét found some undigested pineapple in her stomach, indicating that she died shortly after eating the pineapple. A bowl of pineapples was on the kitchen counter when the police arrived at the crime scene, but the Ramseys denied knowing anything about it and said that it was unlikely that JonBenét prepared the pineapple meal herself.

Was it an intruder? And if so, what kind of intruder would feel comfortable enough in the Ramsey home to kidnap a child but stay long enough to feed the child a pineapple meal? And why use Patsy’s notepad in the house to write the ransom note instead of writing the note somewhere else in advance?

The Ramsey family was out attending a party earlier that evening, and the intruder theory is that an intruder could have been hiding in the house for hours and written the ransom note while alone in the house. (The Ramseys did not have all of their doors locked when they were away and when they were at home.) But no one can seem to explain the sequence of events that led to JonBenét eating pineapple in the middle of the night shortly before she died.

Police found that there were no signs of a disturbance in JonBenét’s bedroom on the night of the crime. Investigators have different theories on how JonBenét could have gone from sleeping in her second-floor bedroom, to being murdered, to her body being found by her father in an area of the house that’s below ground level and was known to few people outside of the Ramsey family. John, Patsy and Burke have maintained that they were asleep when the murder happened, and that they didn’t know that something had happened to JonBenét until the next morning.

People who believe the intruder theory think that the intruder used a stun gun to subdue JonBenét, because there were marks resembling a stun gun on the side of JonBenét’s face and on her back. People who believe that John, Patsy and/or Burke were involved think that JonBenét likely went down to the kitchen for her pineapple meal voluntarily, and something happened that caused her violent death. The marks on her face and back also matched a detached section of a toy train track owned by Burke, according to several news reports with details of what the police found at the crime scene.

The documentary also mentions that Smit was able to show in video evidence that an intruder could have easily entered and left the side window to the room where JonBenét’s body was found. Smit demonstrated by climbing in and out of the window himself. However, what the documentary didn’t mention is that photographic evidence at the crime scene showed that after JonBenét’s body was found, an open window in that room had undisturbed dust and cobwebs on the window sill. If there was an intruder, the undisturbed dust and cobweb evidence definitely can raise doubts that someone entered or left by that window.

A neighbor reported hearing the sound of a frightened child screaming from the Ramsey house on the night of the murder. The documentary mentions that Smit found that there was a pipe in the room where JonBenét’s body was found that can carry sound from that room to outside of the house, but the sound cannot be heard on the upper floors inside the house. It fits into the theory that John, Patsy and Burke Ramsey couldn’t hear any signs of distress during the murder, if they were asleep in their bedrooms as they claimed.

However, the documentary doesn’t question the other side of this belief: If a kidnapped child was crying out that loudly inside the house while being murdered, how did the killer know that other people in the house wouldn’t be able to hear those noises? Furthermore, several people in the documentary describe JonBenét’s murder as slow and tortuous. And yet, it’s never explained why a kidnapper/intruder would feel comfortable murdering a screaming child in her own home, in a slow and tortuous way, without any fear of being caught by other people in the house. Wouldn’t a scared intruder kill her quickly instead of slowly torturing her?

The documentary mentions the biggest evidence to support the intruder theory: unknown male DNA was found in JonBenét’s underwear and on her longjohns that she was wearing when her body was found. All of the Ramseys’ DNA did not match this unknown DNA. What the documentary didn’t mention is that police have not ruled out that this DNA could have been touch DNA, which is DNA that could have gotten there if a man, such as a store employee or factory worker, had contact with this item of clothing before it was packaged. Because John Ramsey got to JonBenét’s body before the police did, and he carried her body to another location in the house, his DNA was all over critical areas, so it did not prove either way if he killed her or not.

Because this documentary seems to have been made to convince people that the intruder theory is the only correct theory and that Smit should get the most credit for this theory, it’s an echo chamber of people who essentially agree. In addition to John Bennett Ramsey, the documentary has interviews with John Andrew Ramsey (JonBenét’s oldest brother, from John Bennett Ramsey’s first marriage); Smit’s daughter Cindy Marra; Smit’s son Mark Smit; and Smit’s attorney Greg Walta. Also interviewed are investigative journalist/author Paula Woodward, who covered the JonBenét murder case from the beginning; John Anderson, a retired sheriff of Colorado’s El Paso County; and Ramsey Family private investigator John San Agustin, a former El Paso County Sheriff’s Office commander.

The beginning of the documentary lists Smit’s impressive work credentials, including his role in helping solve the 1991 murder of 13-year-old Heather Dawn Church of Black Forest, Colorado, as if it’s proof that he could never be wrong. He spent more than 20 years working for the Colorado Springs Police Department, in addition to experience working in a coroner’s office and as an investigator for district attorneys. He later became a private investigator who refused any payment and gifts for working on the Ramsey case. John Bennett Ramsey says in the documentary that Smit even refused his offer to buy ice cream for Smit.

And yet for all this investigator experience, Smit is heard on audio saying about the Ramsey case: “I don’t think this ransom note was written by the parents. Look at all the references to death and dying.” It’s as if Smit believes that “good” parents aren’t capable of talking about their children dying. That’s Smit’s opinion, but this opinion shouldn’t be used as proof of the parents’ guilt or innocence in this case.

In another audio clip, Smit says the Ramseys should be ruled out as suspects for this reason: “There’s no bad character with the Ramseys.” Just because someone doesn’t have an arrest record or seems to have a “nice” personality isn’t proof that someone can’t commit murder. It’s an appallingly bad assumption for a murder investigator to have, because it’s based on opinion and bias, not evidence.

This documentary makes it clear that Smit had it stuck in his head that the Ramseys (who were millionaires at the time) couldn’t possibly be involved in this heinous crime. And there’s nothing wrong with believing in “innocent until proven guilty.” But time and again, in audio tapes played in the documentary, Smit makes telling comments that show a conscious or unconscious bias that appears to be based on the Ramsey’s social class. He says he thinks that the Ramseys are too “nice” or “not the kind of people” to be involved in murdering a child. It’s all really code for “I don’t think people in this income bracket should be considered likely suspects.”

One of the most noticeable flaws in this documentary is that it doesn’t offer anything substantial about what kind of person would commit this crime. If the killer was an intruder, then who else had access and intimate knowledge of the Ramseys’ home and sleeping habits to get away with this crime so easily? None of that is mentioned in the documentary, even though Smit and other investigators surely developed profiles of possible suspects.

The documentary has a brief and vague mention of a large computer database of tips from the public and other information that Smit compiled. But he also complains in his audio diaries that the police didn’t follow up on the majority of this information. Smit acknowledges what has already been widely reported: The Boulder PD was fixated on proving the Ramseys guilty, while Smit was fixated on proving the Ramseys were not guilty. The clashes were inevitable, but they show flaws and narrow-mindedness on both sides.

In 1999, a Boulder grand jury indicted John and Patsy Ramsey on two counts of child abuse related to JonBenét’s murder. However, then-Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter declined to prosecute John and Patsy Ramsey, based on lack of evidence. This secret grand jury decision wasn’t made public until 2013. John Bennett Ramsey, who gives credit to Smit for influencing Hunter to make this decision, comments in the documentary that Smit “saved our lives.”

JonBenét’s father doesn’t say anything in the documentary that he hasn’t already said in other interviews. He comments that when people ask him what he would say to JonBenét, it would be this: “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you. That’s my job as a dad.”

He also defends JonBenét’s participation in beauty pageants, by saying it was JonBenét, not he or his wife Patsy, who insisted on being in these contests. John and Patsy were vilified for allowing JonBenét to dress and act like an adult in these pageants, with critics claiming it was “proof” that John and Patsy were bad parents. There has been speculation that JonBenét could have become a murder target because of her pageant activities.

We might never know why JonBenét Ramsey was killed and who murdered her. But her father says in the documentary that the “real tragedy” is that Patsy “has been maligned as awful. She was an amazing mother.” He also says that the Ramsey family and their supporters won’t give up until JonBenét’s killer is caught. Sadly, unless there is a confession backed up with proof, this is a murder that’s unlikely to be solved.

Smit’s family members seem to be carrying on his legacy by being interviewed about the case and by making public his audio and video recordings that he made about his investigation. Smit’s granddaughters Lexi Marra and Jessa Van Der Woerd (who have a JonBenét Ramsey podcast) and his daughter Cindy Marra were prominently featured in ABC’s “20/20” episode titled “The List: Who Killed JonBenét?,” which aired on January 15, 2021.

This “20/20” news report is very similar to “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” (including interviewing some of the same people), except the “20/20” report had a variety of interviewees and at least made the effort to discuss other people (besides the Ramseys) who fell under suspicion for the murder. The “20/20” news report also had more mention of Smit’s suspicions (he kept a semi-confidential list that he shared with other investigators) about who could have been the killer. Unfortunately, whatever has been reported in JonBenét Ramsey documentaries like this one just adds up to recycled information that does nothing to make a breakthrough in the case.

Discovery+ premiered “JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?” on January 4, 2021.

2021 Puppy Bowl: see photos and videos

January 6, 2021

Puppy Bowl (Photo by Elias Weiss Friedman/Discovery+/Animal Planet)

 

The following is a press release from Discovery Networks:

“We need puppies now more than ever!” said everyone. Have no fear because television’s cutest sports competition and the original call-to-adoption TV event “Puppy Bowl” returns on Sunday, February 7, 2021 for the biggest, most exciting game to date, now as a 3-hour event that can be viewed on both Discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service that features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of Discovery+ on Verizon, and Animal Planet on February 7, 2021, at 2PM ET/11AM PT. Join Discovery+ and Animal Planet for this special three-hour event to experience all the fuzzy puppy faces from Team Ruff and Team Fluff who go paw to paw to win the Chewy “Lombarky” trophy in “Puppy Bowl’s” all-new venue, a ‘stadium within a stadium’ that’s bigger and better than ever before. Be sure to be on the lookout for Team Ruff who is looking to reclaim their title after last year’s loss – they’re coming back with a vengeance! Gear up because it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year for the biggest game of the year – “Puppy Bowl XVII”!

“Puppy Bowl” celebrates adoptable pups in all their cuteness and showcases the incredible shelters and rescues, as well as their staffers, who dedicate their lives to helping animals find their loving homes. In years past, “Puppy Bowl” is 16 for 16 with the adoption rate at 100% as all puppies and kittens featured in “Puppy Bowl” to date have found their forever homes with loving families. And even though this past year has been different from year’s past, one thing is for certain—there will be a “Puppy Bowl”—and discovery+ and Animal Planet continue this annual tradition to highlight these special puppy players and kittens so that they can finally find the place they are meant to call ‘home.’

This year, 22 shelters and rescues from nine Northeastern States are enlisted to bring 70 incredible adoptable puppy players out for “Puppy Bowl” to sport their Team Ruff ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’ and Team Fluff ‘Bark Blue’ bandana colors. What genetic traits are these pups bringing to the game? With the Wisdom Panel™ dog DNA test, we’ll find out what’s beyond those big puppy dog eyes and how each dog’s breed mix might give them an advantage on the field. We’ll see their skills playout in the brand-new Geico Stadium, where these adoptable players have even more room to rumble and fumble!  Fan-favorite elements, including slow motion replays, nose-to-nose action from the famous water bowl cam, and aerial shots of the field from the brand-new Temptations Sky Box are all back this year, along with epic drone shots of puppy players across the arena that bring audiences as close as possible to all the game-play action. The Home Depot goal post nets serve as the backdrop to every touchdown and field goal as audiences have a front row seat view through lens of the cameras in the Chewy end zone pylons.

Joining this year as “Puppy Bowl XVII” announcers are ESPN’s Monday Night Football play- by- play announcer Steve Levy and SportsCenter host Sage Steele who will be providing puppy analysis throughout the game! The “Puppy Bowl XVII” Pre-Game Show begins at 1 PM ET/ 10 AM PT where long-time “Puppy Bowl” sports correspondents Rodt Weiler, James Hound and Sheena Inu, and field reports Brittany Spaniel and Herman Shepard pump up the crowd with pup insights on the furry matchups before the big game. Sponsored by [ yellow tail ]® wine, the Pre-Game Show will also offer ideas on how to create a “Puppy Bowl” “tail”gate party for the perfect viewing experience. The game opens with a special performance of the National Anthem by singing-group and internet sensation, Boys World, before kicking off with the pups of the Pedigree Starting Lineup, who are giving it their all to compete for the one and only Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns. Who will take home the title this year to join the greats of puppies past in the Puppy Bowl MVP Hall of Fame? Tune in to find out this and which lucky pup will also take home the coveted Subaru of America Inc. Underdog Award!

Joining the game for the 10th year in a row is America’s favorite “Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, who, after a decade, is ready to call the puppy penalties, ruffs & tumbles, and pawsome touchdowns for a game unlike any other. Award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport also returns to introduce the Subaru of America, Inc. Pup Close and Personal segments that shine a light on some of these adorable athletes and other adoptable puppies across the country, in addition to the special Senior Spotlight stories which showcase that age is just a number with senior dogs who are ultimately puppies at heart.

This year’s Pup Close and Personal highlights include a special profile of actress and animal advocate Kristen Bell who has teamed up with Annenberg PetSpace in Los Angeles to spend time with Java, a Labrador mix puppy looking for a fur-ever home to snuggle in; Biscuit, a very special Maltese mix pup from Paw Works in LA, who gets a special day out with one lucky kid baker from Food Network’s ‘Kid Baking Championship,’ where we’ll also hear from hosts Valerie Bertinelli & Duff Goldman; Fozzie, a Foster Dogs Inc. Norwegian Elkhound who experiences his first ever grooming from Harlem Doggie Day Spa; and Foofur, a Shepherd mix puppy who is cared for by a very special foster under the PAWS Chicago foster program. Other in-depth profiles include Marshall, a deaf Boston Terrier mix rescue pup who’s training with Green Dogs Unleashed to be a therapy dog, where at a local hospital, he will provide a group of COVID ER nurses with a much-needed mental break in the midst of the pandemic; Jett, a double front amputee Labrador mix from Pets With Disabilities in Maryland, who is prepping for the big game with regular jaunts along the countryside with his fellow special needs cat and dog companions; and Stitch, a Hound mix, who at Wilburton Inn-New England dog friendly resort in Vermont, enjoys a special day out at the Inn on a mission to meet an adopter, before getting scrappy on the field.

Audiences will also see four incredible Senior Spotlight profiles that include Scoobert, an 8-year-old Chihuahua Boxer mix from mix from Young at Heart Sanctuary in Chicago who even though is a senior pooch with medical needs, has a special zest for life; veterinarian Dr. Kwane Stewart, aka @thestreetvet, who treats homeless dogs off the streets of Los Angeles at no cost; Mona, a 10-year-old Toy Poodle mix who undergoes reiki healing sessions at Den Retreat in Los Angeles for a more peaceful state of mind; and Blossom, an American Staffordshire Terrier, who has become the poster pup for the ‘Pitbulls in flower crowns’ series by rescue advocate and photographer Sophie Gamand. Puppy Bowl XVII will also feature five special needs players who are looking forward to finding their loving home including Jett, and four hearing impaired pups including Marshall, a Boston Terrier; Fletcher, an American Bull Dog; Theodore, a Pyr Border Collie; and Rumor, a Heeler mix.

Additionally, for the first time ever on the sidelines, our Team Ruff and Team Fluff players will be cheered on by none other than adoptable puppy cheerleaders who will root and howl for their favorite players. These cheerleading pups will turn up the volume with cuteness overload by shaking their pom poms as the Puppy Bowl XVII players make their way down the field! Midway through the game, get ready to turn up the beat and put on your dancing shoes for the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal™ Kitty Half-Time Show. Audiences will experience the neon dance party they’ve been waiting for all year and rave to the purr-fect beats dropped by senior rescue cat DJ Grand Master Scratch. As an after-party treat, viewers will even be able to see a special adoption update on where these dancing felines found their loving new homes with their loving new forever dance partners.

As a bonus treat for this year’s Puppy Bowl XVII, audiences will also see exciting new ‘Adoptable Pup’ segments, hosted by Dan Schachner and sponsored by Chewy. Sprinkled throughout the program, 11 shelters from around the country will feature one of their special pups (and a few kittens during Kitty Half-Time!) that are all up for adoption during the game!

Puppy Bowl digital audiences can point their paws to PuppyBowl.com to vote for their favorite pup in the ‘Pupularity Playoffs’ bracket style tournament featuring photos by Instagram sensation @TheDogist. Audiences can also check out an exciting live puppy playtime scrimmage on Animal Planet’s TikTok in the lead up to Puppy Bowl XVII. Fans may also be able to see their own animal featured in a photo gallery on PuppyBowl.com when they post a pic of their fur-baby watching Puppy Bowl XVII and tag #PuppyBowl. For more fun social content, head to FacebookInstagramTwitter, and TikTok for original videos, GIFs, Instagram Stickers, a Puppy Bowl AR Filter, and more. Audiences can also follow discovery+ on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Fans can also access even more furry fun and exclusive content by downloading Discovery+. Leading up to “Puppy Bowl,” Discovery+ and Animal Planet GO users will find exclusive in-app original programming, including the “Puppy Bowl” midform series “Pupclose & Personal”, where NFL stars Chris Godwin, Ronnie Stanley, and Ryan Kerrigan reveal their personal pup adoption stories to share why they’re so passionate about canine causes. Pus, we’ll also see Dan the Ref take us down memory lane, highlighting the very best and firsts of “Puppy Bowl’s” 17-year history. Additionally, fans are also invited to Tweet along with game day commentator Meep The Bird and vote in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award. Results will be revealed during the epic program.

Official “Puppy Bowl XVII” sponsors include Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal, Bissell, Chewy, Geico, The Home Depot, Pedigree, Subaru of America Inc., Temptations, Wisdom Panel dog DNA test and [ yellow tail ]® wine.

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in “Puppy Bowl XVII” Animal Planet audiences can visit Puppybowl.com/Adopt.

“Puppy Bowl XVII” is produced for Animal Planet by Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company. Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner with Cindy Kain and Sandy Varo Jarrell also serving as executive producers. For Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel serves as senior executive producer and Pat Dempsey is supervising producer.

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