Discovery Family said Monday (March 30) it had ordered a new unscripted series about shelter-dog starmaker Bill Berloni, and used the announcement to mention for the first time its new month-long, dog-themed programming event, "Pawgust," scheduled for this summer.
The series, From Wags to Riches With Bill Berloni (working title), will follow Berloni -- the noted theatrical animal trainer who found and trained the first Sandy for the original Broadway production of Annie -- at work and at home with his family and their menagerie.
On the job, Berloni is a trainer specializing in humane techniques as well as an activist dedicated to pet rescue. As director of animal training and behavior for the Humane Society of New York, he specializes in matching the right humans to the right animals. At home in Connecticut, he's leader of a pack including his wife, Dorothy, daughter Jenna and their menagerie of 26 pets that have retired to the Berloni Family Farm after their show biz careers.
"Berloni's personal passion for animal activism has also opened up the door to a pool of untapped talent," Discovery Family said, "allowing him to rescue countless homeless dogs, and to give them a second life as stars on stage."
Earthtouch USA is producing the series for Discovery Family, with Phil Fairclough and Sue Norton serving as executive producers. For Discovery Family Channel, Sarah Davies is vice president of production and development and Ron Simon is executive producer.
Discovery Family said it will premiere From Wags to Riches in August during the network's first-ever "Pawgust," which "will celebrate the dog days of summer with a month of totally pawesome animal-themed specials and movies for the entire family."
The network said details would be forthcoming soon. Discovery Family has a press breakfast scheduled in New York Tuesday morning (March 31).