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‘Animal Planet Expo’ Set for Kickoff

Animal Planet will unleash its perennial promotional tour next month.

For the ninth consecutive year, the channel -- part of the Discovery Networks U.S. stable of services -- will roll out its “Animal Planet Expo,” beginning May 13 in Miami. The family-oriented affiliate-marketing program will make one-dozen other stops along its way, including Los Angeles and Chicago.

Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. have signed on as affiliate partners.

The tour -- which this year features national sponsors, the “Smart Spot” program from PepsiCo Inc. and The Clorox Pet Products Co.’s “Fresh Step” litter -- also has a strong local-ad-sales component. Over the past five years, the promotion has generated some $7 million in that kind of revenue, according to Animal Planet officials.

"Year after year, the strength, credibility and quality of the Animal Planet Expo tour has helped our affiliate partners to connect with their communities and drive their local business-building objectives," Discovery Networks senior vice president of distribution and marketing strategy Lori McFarling said in a prepared statement.

"We look forward to kicking off another summer of creating lasting memories for families in local communities and partnering with local charitable organizations or pet rescues, all while driving affiliates' key business objectives through the power of the Animal Planet brand," she added.

This year's trek will feature live animal presentations on both the main stage and in replicas of the critters' natural habitat in the “Animal Planet Expo Theater.” Kids can engage in interactive animal trivia games and the USA Swimming-sponsored “Discovery Kids Endurance Experience,” a hands-on adventure stirring physical and mental competition.

Visitors can also enjoy HD programming via a sneak peek of Discovery Channel's new series, Atlas, which showcases footage from China and Australia, in the “Discovery HD Theater Dome.”