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Kitten Bowl coming to Hallmark Channel

By: Sue Manning The Associated Press
May 12, 2013
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photo - File-This undated publicity file photo provided by Animal Planet shows the Kitty half time show during "Puppy Bowl IX," in New York. The inaugural Kitten Bowl will be shown on the Hallmark Channel. The show is part of Hallmark's Pet Project Initiative and will be done with partner American Humane Association. (AP Photo/Animal Planet, Keith Barraclough,File)
File-This undated publicity file photo provided by Animal Planet shows the Kitty half time show during "Puppy Bowl IX," in New York. The inaugural Kitten Bowl will be shown on the Hallmark Channel. The show is part of Hallmark's Pet Project Initiative and will be done with partner American Humane Association. (AP Photo/Animal Planet, Keith Barraclough,File) 

It's a Super Bowl matchup for the ages: cats vs. dogs.

The Puppy Bowl, a fixture on Animal Planet during the Super Bowl for nearly a decade, will have new competition next year from the Kitten Bowl, the Hallmark Channel announced.

'We would like to own the day, ' said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, which is home to the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.

'Copycats, ' chided Animal Planet in a statement.

Win or lose in the ratings, all the animals stand to benefit. Hallmark will use between 50 and 100 kittens from animal shelters around the country, and Abbott vowed to place each one in a home.

Animal Planet placed every dog and cat on this year's show - 63 puppies and 21 kittens. (Cats serve as halftime entertainment for the two-hour Puppy Bowl.)

The annual Puppy Bowl has a football theme, with the dogs scoring touchdowns if they cross a goal line with a chew toy.

Kittens in Hallmark's bowl will compete on an agility course set up with hurdles, scratchers, tunnels, hoops and weave poles. Laser pointers and toys on strings will be used to entice the kittens.

Judges will look at each kitten's ability to cuddle and win the hearts of viewers.

This year, a record 12.4 million people watched during the 12-hour Puppy Bowl X broadcast.

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