Senior content producer Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

Inspired by real-life shady stuff, I Am the Night starts on TNT Jan. 28. India Eisley and Chris Pine star in the limited series, about a teenage girl who was given up at birth and learns some very curious things about her past. Eisley plays the girl, Fauna Hodel, and Pine portrays a reporter with some demons in his own closet.

The project began when director Patty Jenkins got home after meeting the real Fauna, and told husband Sam Sheridan about their confab. “She came home wide-eyed — you won’t believe what I just heard!” Sheridan said. He and Jenkins are executive producers.

Fauna’s story is connected to the notorious Black Dahlia case, with her grandfather, Dr. George Hodel, a prime suspect in the 1949 murder that mesmerized Los Angeles and beyond. Chinatown factors in too; Sheridan calls I Am the Night the “real true story behind Chinatown.”

Fauna Hodel passed away just before shooting started. “It’s heartbreaking to me, knowing how much she would’ve enjoyed this,” said Sheridan. But I feel like she’s with us in spirit.”

Pine’s reporter, for his part, is “classic noir,” according to Sheridan. “He’s on his own journey of discovery.”

I Am the Night has just six episodes, but Sheridan said it could go on. A character other than Fauna can carry the ball in a new season, he said. “I love all the characters,” said Sheridan. “Any of them could spin off.”

Speaking of carrying the ball, you may have heard the Super Bowl is on this weekend, which means it’s time for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet Feb. 3. It is Team Ruff versus Team Fluff fighting for the Lombarky Trophy in Puppy Bowl XV. All the puppies on the pitch are, or at least were, up for adoption.

Unlike last year, there are mascots in the 2019 Puppy Bowl, including a lively capybara (an “oversized rodent,” according to showrunner Simon Morris) and some African porcupines. Toss in baby kangaroo cheerleaders, and it makes for a memorable menagerie.

In terms of the on-field talent, an Australian cattle dog named Bumble, who happens to be blind and hearing impaired, is on the short list for Most Valuable Pup. Corgi Clara catches one’s eye by tossing herself into the water bowl.

And the halftime show. While Adam Levine and Maroon 5 play Mercedes-Benz Stadium, look for Adam Feline and Purrr-oon 5 at The Puppy Bowl. They may just sing “Meows Like Jagger.”

“We love an animal pun,” said Morris.

The Puppy Bowl popped some serious ratings last year, reaching a 1.5 in adults 25-54, and Animal Planet hopes it can repeat. “It’s just been building year after year,” said Morris. “It’s become a cult thing.”

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