Hallmark's 'Kitten Bowl II' Draws 1.3 Million Viewers

With a Cause for the Paws, Social-Media Takes Off
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Apparently cat videos play as well on-air as they do online. Kitten Bowl II, Hallmark Channel’s counter-Super Bowl programming stunt on Sunday afternoon, exceeded the ratings performance of last year’s inaugural event, reaching 1.3 million total viewers during its premiere airing, and generating more than 50,000 tweets for the day.

From noon to 3 p.m. on Feb. 2, as Super Bowl-related fare aired across cable and broadcast networks, Hallmark Channel saw Kitten Bowl II up 28% over 2014’s total viewership, the network said. The show also outperformed Kitten Bowl I by double digits in key demographics: Among adults 18-49, viewership increased 40%, with 394,000 viewers; and among women it rose in two sub-demos, up 37% to 284,000 women 25-54 and up 38% to 248,000 women 18-49, according to Nielsen.

On the second screen, Kitten Bowl II gave Hallmark Channel its best day ever on Twitter; #KittenBowl was a top trending for part of the day, garnering some 50,000 tweets reaching nearly 36 million users, the company said. The special also trended in the Top 10 on Facebook, reaching 1.7 million unique users.

Both the line-up and a cause for the paws served to shore up the ratings and social-media performance.

Calling the action as the 92 kitty contestants played the field were legendary New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling and award-winning reporter/sports analyst Mary Carillo. A range of celebs made guest appearances, including Boomer Esiason, Kevin Nealon, Regis Philbin, Mario Lopez, Maria Menounos, Kat Dennings, Bob Harper, Fiona Gubelmann, Tricia Helfer, Heather McDonald, Deidre Hall, Jenn Brown and Camren Bicondova.

Additionally, Hallmark Channel used Kitten Bowl II to support its Pet Project, an evergreen initiative spotlighting animal rescue and pet adoption. The network worked with North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation to adopt out each of the show’s 92 kitty contestants. 

“[T]o have experienced this kind of growth, both on air and in social media, in our second year is remarkable,” Bill Abbot, president and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks, said. “Beyond the success we have achieved in terms of tune-in and engagement, we are incredibly proud of the message Kitten Bowl sends about the importance of adoption, and it is our hope that viewers across the country will be moved to rescue their next pet and give a shelter animal the loving home they so deserve.”

Broadcasting & Cable'sJonathan Kuperburg contributed to this story.

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