The Hallmark Channel literally let the cat out of the bag Wednesday, announcing it is extending is Kitten Bowl franchise of melding tiny, cute kittens with major contact sports to the baseball arena, with the debut its first “Paw Star Game,” on Sunday July 12 at 6 p.m. EST.
The channel’s answer to Major League Baseball’s own All-Star Game, which is slated for July 14, the contest will be hosted by TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern, along with play-by-play announcers John Sterling (the radio voice of the New York Yankees) and ward-winning reporter, sports analyst and commentator Mary Carillo. As the kittens take the field to swat balls and catch line drives, they will be cheered on by celebrities including Ed Asner, Maria Menounos, Mario Lopez, Al Roker, Heather McDonald, Tricia Helfer, Deidre Hall, Dawn Olivieri and Camren Bicondova.
“Launching ‘Paw Star Game’ is the next exciting extension of our kitten sports franchise that has already seen tremendous success with the network’s annual ‘Kitten Bowl,’” said Crown Media Family Networks executive vice president of programming and publicity Michelle Vicary in a statement.
Like its Kitten Bowl counterpart, which drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers in its last airing in February the felines of summer will include such near-famous names as Derek Cheetah, Joe DiMeowgio, Don Cattingly, Mickey Meowntle, Siamese Sosa, Willie Strays, Wade Pawggs, Rod Purrew, Beau Catson, Bombaybe Ruth, “Bootless” Joe Catson, “Hairballin” Hank Purron, Lurk Kitson, Roberto Clawmente, Sandy Kocats, Darryl Pawberry, Button, Corey Clawber, Cuddles Cattingly, Purfessor Isaac Furrowitz, Buddy, Fluffy Frisky, Hunter Pounce, Jose Catseco, Paw Prints Fielder, Socks, Max, Oliver and many more. The teams set to compete are the Gold Crown Catamounts, North Shore Bengals, Mystery Meercats and Keepsake Cougars.
Hallmark Channel will also share weekly highlights of the kittens training and player profiles on CAT CENTER hosted by John Sterling and Mary Carillo.
“Paw Star Game” is executive produced by 3 Ball Entertainment’s JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Adam Kaloustian and Brant Pinvidic, with Jesse Drollette serving as co-executive producer. 3 Ball Entertainment credits include “Extreme Weight Loss” (ABC), "Bar Rescue" (Spike) and “My Cat From Hell” (Animal Planet), among others.