STARS Animal Rescue
America has 8 million animals in their shelters, and only half of those make it out alive. Troubling statistics like these, which only seem to multiply each year, were enough to keep Emmy nominated producer, and avid dog-loving activist, Michael Levitt awake at night. So he took action with the most powerful medium in the world - television - and made history in the process. Last Thanksgiving day, FOX broadcast Levitt's creation, the first ever prime time dog adoption special. Hosts Jane Lynch and Hilary Swank (who also Executive Produces with Levitt) along with a who's who of film, music and TV stars, helped inspire more than 4, 500 dog adoption applications.
This Thursday (FOX 8pm - 10pm) marks the welcome return of Levitt and Swank's All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration, an uplifting two hour spectacular, which is fast becoming as much of an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition as Macy's Parade.
In the middle of producing this year's show, I managed to sneak a few minutes in with Michael Levitt to find out more about The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration.
Xaque Gruber: Who is hosting this year, and how did they come aboard?
Michael Levitt: Kaley Cuoco, who has proven time and time again, that there is nobody more passionate about helping animals. She is a true animal activist and we are so grateful to have an actress of her caliber and level of popularity agree to host this year's show.
XG: If you could name a few of your favorite doggie memories from last year's telecast, what would they be?
ML: Highlights for me included the substantive moments that conveyed the messaging about the importance of rescuing. Our piece from the organization Hope for Paws introduced by Channing and Jena Dewan Tatum about Lexy & her pups that were rescued from the streets of South Los Angeles and nursed back to health. Also the piece we did from The Beagle Freedom Project showing the first moments beagles were freed from laboratory cages and touching grass for the very first time. I also loved the march of the basset hounds which included a parade of 35 of the most adorable basset hounds taking over our stage.
Betty White and Kathy Griffin bond over their love for dogs on The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration (Photo by Greg Gayne/FOX)
XG: I loved last year's variety of humorous segments like when Max Greenfield tried to identify which dog was his from a lineup and couldn't at first. Are you able to tease any new or returning segments we can hope for this year?
ML: Viewers can look forward to us featuring over 200 dogs this year on the show! This will include a "march of the bulldogs, " this year's version of what we did last year with the basset hounds. Additionally, we will be including exclusive coverage of Wings of Rescue's holiday airlift in which over 1, 000 dogs are being transported from high kills shelters in Southern California to rescues all over the country waiting to receive them and place them into loving homes. This will all unfold throughout our show and the final 100 dogs will actually walk through our audience down a red carpet to airplanes outside of our venue waiting to take them on their freedom flight to forever homes. We actually have officials on hand that will hopefully certify this holiday airlift as a world record for the most rescue dogs being transported to forever homes during one airlift operation.