Canine-themed programming is becoming increasingly popular as new statistics reveal Americans are expected to spend upwards of $60 billion on pet products this year alone.
The numbers have networks and advertisers doubling down as Hollywood has apparently latched on to the people’s demand for furry friendly shows, reports The Wrap.
“Some of the most emotionally engaging, most compelling and most poignant stories that our audiences respond to all involve people and their dogs,” said Nat Geo Wild EVP and GM Geoff Daniels. “They don’t see these dogs as pets, they see them as family members.”
That shift in perception has much to do with the recent drive in puppy-themed programming, industry executives say.
“Major retailers used to stack their food in the more industrial sections of the store, right next to the cement and soil,” said Chad Kawalec, advertising expert and founder of The Brand Identity Center. “Today, pet food is more likely to be found in a dedicated freezer case and often comes in all natural organic versions that look and cost the same as human food.”
A survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association says Americans are expected to spend $70 billion on pet products in 2018, and the numbers keep rising.
TV networks are eager to provide advertising platforms for the companies selling puppy products, too.
Hollywood shows puppy love:
Animal Planet currently has four dogs shows on the air.
Nat Geo Wild has about 10 dog-centric shows and dedicated the weekend of May 17 to man’s best friend with its “Barkfest.”
Bill Berloni, Broadway’s go-to dog trainer, just scored a deal with Discovery Family and will star in his own series.
CBS won an Emmy last month for “Lucky Dog” host Brandon McMillan.
In February, Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” was ranked number one in non-sports cable ratings with more than 10 million viewers during a 12-hour marathon.
There may be other reasons why there has been a recent demand for dog-related shows more recently.
The Science behind Dog Addiction:
“Dogs have that obvious ability to bond with people that makes them the kind of characters that people just really relate to,” Daniels continued. “It just makes you happy.”
Dogs have been known to provide healing affects on humans such as helping soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and sniffing out hard-to-detect cancers.
A Japanese study found recently that dogs tap into an ancient human bonding pathway.
The research claims when dogs look into the eyes of their owners, they trigger a spike in oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.”
This is the same release of oxytocin that occurs when a mother looks into her newborns eyes, according to studies.
Furthermore, dogs are the most popular pet among households within the United States.
According to the APPA, there are 54.4 million American households that own a dog.
Cats come in at second with 42.9 million and freshwater fish with 12.3 million.
Mexican-American self-taught dog trainer Cesar Millan changed the game in 2004 with his show, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, which had an estimated 1 million viewers per episode and became National Geographic’s top-rated series for most of its eight-year run.
“When people watched Cesar on ‘Dog Whisperer,’ and now on ‘Cesar 911,’ what they see is the authenticity and his uncanny talent to diagnose what the real heart of the issue is,” said Daniels. “He changed the landscape. Everyone is looking for the next Cesar Millan.”
Trainer Brandon McMillan, who hosts the CBS show Lucky Dog, may prove to be a fighting force against Millan, however, whose knowledge of animals and good looks have reportedly already made him a fan favorite among children and their moms.
“Honestly, it doesn’t matter how I look- my technique is my real talent,” said McMillan. “If they’re watching because of the way I look, that’s fine as long as they’re learning something along the way.”
His show starts with a phone call from a local dog shelter that begs McMillan to help one of its dogs find a “forever home.”
In a span of one week, McMillan turns the tough to handle rescue into a pet owners dream.
Chris Brown, also known as Dr. Chris Pet Vet, is another dog-loving CBS host who has also been named “Australian television’s most handsome star.”
Producers say finding multi-faceted talent is important for new animal shows.
“They’re designed to appeal to all members of the family,” Kawalec said. “Being an expert animal trainer is not enough; the successful ones also have to be exceptionally good-looking, humble, kind, and charming and even sexy to appeal to moms and gays.”