NEW YORK >> "The National Dog Show" will crown one of America's great purebreds as its 2020 champion for the 19th time on Thanksgiving Day bringing canine competition, family entertainment and a sense of normalcy to America's holiday viewers.
Judges and handlers are masked and appropriately distanced for the competition in compliance with regional health and safety measures, including no spectators, media or sponsors on hand for the action. Virtual fans in the form of cutouts provide the backdrop for the cameras with co-hosts John O’Hurley and David Frei handling hosting duties from their homes, joined by their own canine families.
The engaging cutouts -- almost all of which are pictures of family dogs – were submitted by Americans across the country in a fundraising initiative benefitting American Kennel Club (AKC) Pet Disaster Relief, which provides custom-equipped trailers so that regional emergency management personnel can provide services immediately following a disaster.
The broadcast airs locally from noon to 2 p.m. on NBC10. The broadcast is seen annually by a total audience of over 20 million on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the two-hour special will also air in primetime on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT/MT).
O'Hurley (“Seinfield,” “Dancing with the Stars”) and expert analyst Frei, America’s foremost expert on all things canine, make the TV special a celebration of man's best friend with features on the dogs in our lives.
Three new breeds certified by the AKC will be on hand at the show, which boasts a champions-only field for the first time as the number of entries was reduced from 2,000 to 600. Competing are the Barbet (Sporting Group), a water dog from France with a long, sweeping tail, a dense coat of curly hair and a distinctive beard; and the Dogo Argentino (Working Group), a strong and intelligent hunting dog from Argentina. The Belgian Laekenois, an athletic, hard-working herding dog, is not competing but will be introduced to the American public during the show.
The National Dog Show will be featured in different digital formats including a live stream online at NBCSports.com/Live, or through the NBC Sports app, which is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
Digital coverage will also include on-demand coverage of all seven groups plus "Best in Show." In addition, NBCSports.com and NationalDogShow.com will provide video of the examination of every breed in the group judging competition with specific commentary by Wayne Ferguson, the President of The Kennel Club of Philadelphia.