Hallmark Channel Joins American Humane Association to Celebrate Extraordinary Dogs and People with Gala and Televised Special

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 “American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™” 90-Minute Special
Premieres on Hallmark Channel, November 11, 2011 8:00pm ET/PT

 Studio City, California - May 31, 2011 - They are our companions and comrades; they fight on the front lines alongside our servicemen at war and assist our disabled and ailing at home; they help solve crimes and locate missing persons; they are a treasured and beloved part of our families; they guide us, protect us and risk their own safety for our benefit -- everyday dogs not only enrich, but save lives around the globe.  Hallmark Channel is proud to announce today that it is joining American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ presented by CESAR® Canine Cuisine to honor our remarkable canine friends and their immeasurable contributions.  The Hero Dog Awards, produced by Emmy® Award winning MRB Productions, feature a nationwide search for America’s top dogs, which will culminate in a red carpet celebrity-filled awards gala and 90-minute televised special premiering on Hallmark Channel November 11, 2011 at 8:00PM, ET/PT.

“The Hero Dog Awards allows us to recognize the incredible bravery, loyalty, and unconditional love that dogs honor us with every day,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Holdings Inc. “I feel deeply privileged to have Hallmark Channel partner with the American Humane Association in this entertaining, informative, and inspirational tribute to our four-legged heroes.”

"We are delighted to have Hallmark Channel join us in bringing the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ to the public," says Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of the 134-year-old American Humane Association. "Their tremendous audience and long history of championing positive and appealing programming will help make this a huge signature event on the annual national television landscape."

People who have worked with, know of, or been saved by a working dog are encouraged to nominate their four-legged friends in seven categories: Law Enforcement and Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; Hearing Dogs.   In an eighth category, Emerging Hero Dogs, dog owners are invited to shine the spotlight on and nominate their ordinary pets who have made an extraordinary difference in their lives.  Anyone can nominate a dog for free at www.herodogawards.org through June 17, 2011.  Voting by the general public will commence on June 20, 2011.

Finalists in each of the eight categories will be judged by a blue-ribbon panel consisting of celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg and animal experts, including internationally-acclaimed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, to determine the winning American Hero Dog.  All eight finalists will be flown to Los Angeles, where they will walk the red carpet and be recognized in a moving video tribute at a black-tie awards gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 1, 2011, which will conclude with the announcement of the winning Hero Dog.

Video vignettes featuring each of the eight finalists, as well as interviews with their owners, and footage from the proceedings at the October 1st event will be wrapped into Hallmark Channel’s “Hero Dog Awards” special. 

About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 87.5 million subscribers.  The top tier program service is distributed through more than 5,450 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country.  Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading network in quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies, lifestyle and general entertainment content, and is the home of "The Martha Stewart Show", which anchors the channel's new daytime HOME block.  Hallmark Channel's sibling network is Hallmark Movie Channel, also available in HD and SD, which focuses on the family-friendly movies with a mix of classic theatrical films, presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library, original Hallmark Channel movies and special events.

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About American Humane Association
Since 1877 American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

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