Felines and fish offer Super Bowl alternatives

Felines and fish offer Super Bowl alternatives

Credit: National Geographic Channels

Nat Geo Wild is premiering its first-ever "Fish Bowl" (6 p.m. ET/3 PT) on Sunday.

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by PATRICK RYAN / USA TODAY

KING5.com

Posted on February 2, 2014 at 2:24 PM

If you're not a football fan, Super Bowl Sunday may sound like a cat-astrophe waiting to happen. But who are we kitten? There are plenty of TV alternatives for those who don't know the difference between a cornerback and a wide receiver.

Featuring 71 kittens, miniature footballs and field goal posts adorned with yarn, Hallmark Channel's first annual Kitten Bowl (noon ET/PT) offers an even fuzzier alternative to Animal Planet's immensely popular Puppy Bowl (3 p.m. ET/PT). As in previous outings, young rescue dogs are playing in Puppy Bowl X, which features the pups frolicking about in a mini-stadium football(-like) game complete with commentators. And this year, Animal Planet's broadcast also will feature kittens, during halftime.

But Hallmark will focus on feline athleticism. Beginning with two playoff games — black vs. tabby kittens, and orange vs. grey kittens — the lively event culminates in a championship match between the two victorious teams. And when the felines hit the field, it's best to keep your distance: These kitties got claws.

"There are cat fights and lots of shenanigans afloat on the field of the Kitten Bowl," says host Beth Stern, wife of Howard and self-confessed "crazy cat lady." "It was hilarious and adorable, and just too precious for words."

Ahead of Sunday's big game, fans can read up on players such as Feline Manning and Tabby Romo, check in on the rambunctious felines via live webcam, and learn more about the plight of shelter animals (courtesy of North Shore Animal League America). Although all 71 participating cats have already been adopted, Stern says that many local shelters are hosting kitten-bowl parties this weekend where people can adopt a furry friend. "We're just hoping people will see cute Tomcat Brady and want to adopt a cute tabby cat."

If the fluffy critters have you feeling empty, don't flush your Sunday down the drain quite yet. Destination America is airing an afternoon Toilet Bowl (noon ET/PT), a marathon of bathroom-renovation series King of Thrones. Nat Geo Wild is also premiering their first-ever Fish Bowl (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT), which gives viewers a "fish-eye perspective" of — you guessed it — life inside a fishbowl.

"It's four unadulterated hours of goldfish magic," says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president/general manager of Nat Geo Wild. "Whenever somebody tunes in, there's going to be all sorts of new elements that Goldie (the goldfish starring in the special) will have been introduced to that I think the audience will get a kick out of."

Although he's scant on the fishy details, Daniels hints at erupting volcanoes, special guests and a disco dance party at halftime that "does not include Bruno Mars or the (Red Hot) Chili Peppers."

And while he understands the appeal of cuddly puppies and kittens trying their paws at America's favorite game, Daniels says the Fish Bowl has a fin up on the competition.

"I think putting puppies and kittens in bowls is just wrong," he jokes. "For us, we're on the right side of this particular discussion, and so actually, the fact that we're running our stuff in premiere straight up against the Super Bowl speaks to our belief in the concept.

"We're not afraid of any competition at all, including the NFL."

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