NEW YORK, May 17 (UPI) -- Host John O'Hurley said viewers of Sunday's Beverly Hills Dog Show on NBC are in for a treat.
"We try to loosen up the edges a little bit in Beverly Hills," O'Hurley -- who also emcees the National Dog Show each November in Philadelphia -- told UPI at a pre-pandemic press event in New York.
"We spotlight, not only our four-legged friends, but a lot of our two-legged stars, as well," he said of the California competition.
"So many people are pet lovers out in LA and on the celebrity circuit, and we try to include them a little bit. It's a little bit more star-studded, a little more glitzy. We talk about the wonderful history of dogs, not only in our lives, but in our entertainment."
American Kennel Club-licensed judge David Frei will provide expert analysis and Mary Carillo, Akbar Gbajabiamila and Maria Menounos will offer color commentary.
The competition was taped Feb. 29, but was postponed because of post-production issues caused when social-distancing practices were adopted to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Celebrity guests at the event included Lauren Ash, Brian Baumgartner, Reece Caddell, Jade Catta-Preta, Olivia Culpo, Ester Dean, Bo Derek, Doug the Pug, Parveen Kaur, MJ Javid and Tommy Feight, Nastia Liukin, Greg Louganis, Ariana Madix, Justine Marino, Caitlin McGee, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier and Jocko Sims.
O'Hurley said he and Frei hit it off right away when they co-hosted their first National Dog Show 19 years ago.
"We have a great time," O'Hurley said. "I realized how much I needed him because he is the smartest man in the room when it comes to dogs -- and even the dogs will tell you that. But, also, just off-camera, we are very, very close friends, and our families are close, and it's become a wonderful partnership."
The actor also has a genuine affection for man's best friend.
"They round out the edges in your life," he said of dogs in general. "No matter what is going on in your day, your dog still loves you unconditionally, and they also live in the present moment. They don't worry about what happened and they don't worry about what's going to happen."
Fans of the dog shows who approach O'Hurley most frequently want to know why their perfect pet can't compete.
"That's probably the No. 1 thing I get. They also ask how a judge makes a decision on a dog and what they don't realize and what I tell them is that every breed has a written standard that the dog has to subscribe to.
"So, the dogs really aren't competing against each other as much as they are competing with the written standard of what the best of that breed should be," he said.
O'Hurley takes pride in being part of an industry that upholds high standards for excellence.
"It's nice to know that there is a written standard," he chuckled.
"I have my one-man show that I tour around the country called A Man with Standards, and I was lucky enough to sing the songs -- the standards as they call The Great American Songbook -- but I was lucky enough to grow up around men who had them. I grew up in the shadow of gentlemen, so I just try to carry that with me every day."
The 65-year-old entertainer also has appeared on numerous daytime dramas, most notably on Santa Barbara, but he probably is best known for his iconic portrayal of J. Peterman on the sitcom Seinfeld.
He is a popular voice actor whose recent credits include Phineas and Ferb, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Lion Guard, too.
"I've had a very eclectic career," O'Hurley said, recalling how he knew as a pre-schooler in the age of black-and-white television that he wanted to be a star of stage and screen.
"I just didn't know how many left and right turns I would take along the way. Host for the National Dog Show and also the Beverly Hills Dog Show is a wonderful addition to everything I do."
A 3-year-old Havanese named Bono was crowned Best in Show last year in Beverly Hills.