—White Headlines a Month Full of Bark-Worthy, Pawesome Programming, Including the Premiere of FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI—
(Silver Spring, Md) – Sit…stay…watch! Discovery Family Channel, America’s top dog entertainment network for the entire family, is set to make a serious splash this summer with beloved animal advocate and actress Betty White hosting PAWGUST. Throughout PAWGUST, Discovery Family Channel will showcase totally pawesome animal themed series, specials and movies beginning Saturday, August 1 with 101 Dalmations at 8/7c. PAWGUST will also feature the highly anticipated world premiere of Discovery Family’s original series FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI.
“August traditionally finds the country embroiled in the Dog Days of Summer, so we’re bringing the pawsitively best in programming about pets—and of course, man’s best friend—to help audiences beat the heat,” said Tom Cosgrove, general manager, Discovery Family Channel. “With her devoted advocacy and genuine affection for creatures of all kinds, Betty White is truly the best friend an animal can have—and the perfect person to host PAWGUST.”
White will be featured in various promos airing throughout the month of August—along with a few of her very favorite friends including golden retriever Auggie.
PAWGUST is anchored by the debut of Discovery Family’s first original series, FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI, on Thursday, August 6 at 9/8c. Each hour-long episode brings viewers into the world of award-winning eminent theatrical animal trainer Bill Berloni, whose personal passion for animal activism has opened up the door to a litter of untapped talent—allowing him to rescue countless homeless dogs, and to give them a second life as stars on stage. Known for casting and cultivating Sandy—the dog featured in the original run of Broadway’s beloved Annie—Berloni possesses the unique ability to transform shelter dogs into stars through a combination of patience, persistence, trial-and-error and a pinch of Dr. Doolittle. FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI will follow Berloni in his work as an animal trainer and in rescuing animals, while also spotlighting his happy and hectic home life in Connecticut with his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenna and menagerie of 41—and counting!—dogs, ducklings, a donkey and a handful of other farm animals.
Also on the schedule for PAWGUST:
- Fetch the remote and fill up your water bowls! Beginning Monday, August 3, Discovery Family will unveil YAPPY HOUR, airing every weeknight at 5/4c with FUNNIEST PETS AND PEOPLE, in addition to encores of the week’s pawesome programming.
- In addition to FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI, Thursdays are programmed with premiere specials like SECRETS OF THE DOG PARK (wt/US premiere; August 6, 10/9c), as well as encore airings of the pop culture phenomenon MY DOG’S CRAZY ANIMAL FRIENDS.
- Every Friday beginning August 7, a night of pawmusing series including PETS MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD (wt/US premiere; Thursdays beginning August 7, 8/7c) and PLANET’S FUNNIEST ANIMALS (9/8c).
- Grab the pupcorn, er, popcorn for movie nights on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays: See Spot Run (August 1, 10/9c), All Dogs Go to Heaven (August 3, 8/7c), Muppets From Space (August 8, 8/7c), Muppets Take Manhattan (August 8, 10/9c), Hotel for Dogs (August 9, 10/9c) Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (August 15, 8/7c) and The Jungle Book (August 15, 10/9c).
Online, DiscoveryFamilyChannel.com will run “Pawesome Paws” microsodes featuring the pawdorable animals from the programs featured on-air. Across social media platforms, Discovery Family will drive engagement with “Show Us Your Paws!”, encouraging fans and followers to take photos of their pets’ paws—any kind of paw!—in humorous situations and tagging them #Pawgust. In addition, Discovery Family will officially launch an Instagram account, with daily posts tied to #Pawgust.
About Bill Berloni
Bill Berloni was a 20-year-old apprentice at the Goodspeed Opera House when a producer offered him his big break: a chance to act professionally and gain his Equity Card. In return, all Bill had to do was find and train a dog to play Sandy in the original production of Annie.
What Bill didn’t know was that this was a bigger challenge than it seemed. Animal performances in movies or television can be stitched together using different takes, different camera angles, and even different animals. To perform in a featured role, an animal actor would have to be trained to ignore the distraction of the audience and respond to the same cues the same way night-after-night, just like his human counterparts. It had never been done before.
Bill found his dog at a local animal shelter – beginning his career-long commitment to using rescued animals. Through a combination of patience, persistence and trial-and-error, he developed his revolutionary humane training techniques – learning how to teach actor and animal alike to create a successful performance. Annie became a huge hit and Sandy became “the longest running dog on Broadway,” never missing a performance in more than seven years.
Since then, Bill and his handlers have provided domesticated animals of all species and sizes, found in shelters, humane societies or rescue leagues, for Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, regional theatres, special events, the New York City Ballet, motion pictures, television and commercials. When their careers are over, the animals return to Bill’s Connecticut farm.
Bill is widely recognized as an expert in animal behavior and for his dedication to rescue work. In addition to his work as a trainer, Bill is currently Director of Animal Training and Behavior to the Humane Society of New York. He has a BFA in theatre, and is a published author and actor.
About Discovery Family
The leading television destination for families in the United States, Discovery Family is the #1 co-viewed cable network[i] in 2015 to date. Available in nearly 70 million U.S. homes, Discovery Family is a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro, programmed with a clever mix of original series, programming from Discovery’s non-fiction library and Hasbro Studios’ popular animation franchises, including MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, LITTLEST PET SHOP and TRANSFORMERS RESCUEBOTS.
The smart entertainment choice for families, Discovery Family attracts children and their parents with the highest-quality, real-world content that appeals to the entire family in the General Entertainment, Adventure and Animals genres at night and award-winning animation programming in Daytime.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. For 30 years Discovery has been dedicated to satisfying curiosity and entertaining viewers with high-quality content through its global television brands, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery controls Eurosport, the leading pan-regional sports entertainment destination across Europe and Asia-Pacific. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
[i] Source: Nielsen Live+3, NHI Calendar (12/29/14-4/26/15), Program Based Dayparts. Co-Viewing based on monthly program averages for 2015td across Total Day (M-Su 6a-6a).