Hallmark Outreach Goes Global with 'Kitten Games'

With a pair of Kitten Bowls in the books, Hallmark Channel's pet adoption outreach efforts will take on global sporting event proportions next year.

The family- and feline-friendly network will host the "Kitten Summer Games" in August 2016.  The programming event, the latest outgrowth of parent company Crown Media Family Network's social initiative, "Pet Project," will showcase hundreds of adoptable kittens in the most competitive “claw down” the sporting world has ever seen. NBCUniversal will be presenting the Summer Olympics from Rio de Janiero from Aug.5-21, 2016.

For the inaugural Kitten Summer Games, Hallmark Channel will schedule competitions for both individuals and groups, include the de-cat-lon, gymnastics, freestyle wrestling, swimming, track and field, balance beam, floor exercises, sprints and many more furrocious kitten sports. The network said young cats from all over the world have been rigorously training and the best will come together and unite in one city to compete in hopes of bringing home a gold medal.

“With an innovative special event like ‘Kitten Summer Games,’ we have the opportunity to not only entertain, but also showcase how extraordinarily talented shelter pets are and how capable they are to compete in a global sporting event equal to their human counterparts,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks.

“With our phenomenal shelter partners, Crown Media Family Networks is having a positive impact on rescuing animals from high kill shelters and significantly increasing the numbers of shelter pet adoptions.  The Gold Medal glory we seek is to end pet homelessness forever."

More than 20 shelter partners of North Shore Animal League America came together to host Kitten Bowl II viewing parties which resulted in hundreds of animals being adopted on Su-Purr Sunday. The Feb.1 event, squaring off against Super Bowl XLIX-related fare on NBC, drew 1.3 million watchers during its premiere window, up 28% from Kitten Bowl I the prior year.

Hallmark Channel hopes many more shelters will host adoption parties around “Kitten Summer Games” with the goal of dramatically increasing pet adoptions.

“Kitten Summer Games” is executive produced by 3 Ball Entertainment’s JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Adam Kaloustian and Brant Pinvidic, with Jesse Drollette serving as co-executive producer. 3 Ball Entertainment credits include Extreme Weight Loss (ABC), Bar Rescue (Spike) and My Cat From Hell” (Animal Planet), among others.

Crown Media Family Networks recently rescued and adopted Happy The Cat from a shelter in rural Ohio and Happy The Dog who was abandoned on a street in South Los Angeles.  Both will be featured nationally as Crown Media Family Networks’ ambassadors of “adopt, don’t shop” pet adoption initiatives.