NEW YORK (AP) — Television traditions on Thanksgiving have usually involved the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then hours of football, but in recent years, another has emerged: The National Dog Show.
Hosted by actor John O’Hurley, the annual parade of pooches has become one of the most popular shows of Thanksgiving week.
But according to O’Hurley, it almost didn’t make its way to the small screen.
As O’Hurley tells it, the then-head of NBC Sports was enamored with the dog show parody classic “Best in Show” and came up with the idea to do a real show to fill the gap between the parade and football.
“They have all laughed him out of the office. But by the end of the day, he had the National Dog Show license from the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, Purina had come on as a presenting sponsor,” O’ Hurley recalled. “He called me and I was in L.A. I picked up the phone and I said, ‘Hello.’ And he said, ‘Woof, Woof.’ And that’s how it all started 18 years ago.”
For O’Hurley, best known for his time on “Seinfeld,” it was a natural fit.
“Well, I’ve had a dog ever since I was 4 years old in my lap,” said O’Hurley, as he sat next to Dyson, a Shetland sheepdog on the cusp of two who is training to be a therapy dog. “I always said I’m a better person with a dog in my lap; dogs have a tendency to round out the edges in our lives.”