Taylor Rooks walks the red carpet during Super Bowl LIV week in Miami Beach in February 2020. She is one of the hosts of Animal Planet's "Puppy Bowl XIX." File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The ever-popular Puppy Bowl XIX is returning to the airwaves, but this year will be simulcast across four channels. The annual show three-hour show featuring rescue pups highlights the work of rescue, shelter and animal workers across the country. This year's event includes 122 puppies from 67 shelters across 34 states.
This is the first year a Native American rescue will be featured along with a puppy player from the island nation of Dominica. The 11 dogs with special needs who can be adopted include Julius a Dalmatian, who is hearing-impaired, Marmalade, a sight and hearing-impaired border collie/Australian cattle dog and Mykonos, an American Staffordshire terrier/bulldog who has a cleft palate.
The Puppy Bowl is the annual animal competition, which is a precursor to the Super Bowl. It airs on Feb. 12, starting with a pre-game show at 1 p.m. EST. Just like the big game, the Puppy Bowl will hold a draft that includes interviews with players and coaches, along with a dog DNA test to see which competitors have winning traits.
The Animal Planet show will also air on the Discovery Channel, Discovery+, HBO Max and TBS. Hosts include some of the channel's top talents including sports broadcaster Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, sports commentator Steve Levy, Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson of Married to Real Estate, Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures, Alex Guarnaschelli of Supermarket Stakeout and Faruq Tauheed from Battlebots.
Dan Schachter, in his twelfth year, Levy and Rooks will provide the play-by-play.
Just like the big football game that follows on Super Bowl Sunday, a Puppy Bowl pre-game show starts with interviews with players and coaches and a puppy player draft that includes DNA testing to figure out which dogs have winning traits.
And just like their human counterparts, the pups can earn awards including the MVP - Most Valuable Puppy Award and the Underdog award. And Puppy Bowl XIX offers other things to watch for like the Puppy Cheer squad, the water bowl cam, the slo-motion camera, and the pylon cam and the pups will be dressed up for their red-carpet arrivals.
During the game, eleven shelters will showcase puppies available for adoption and during the Kitty Halftime show, three shelters will include kittens that are also looking for forever homes.
Puppy Bowl XIX airs on Feb. 12, starting at 1 p.m. EST for the pre-game show. The main broadcast starts at 2 p.m. EST.