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Super Bowl alternatives include puppies, kittens and marathons

February 2, 2019

Super Bowl alternatives include puppies, kittens and marathons

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Plenty of pigskin prognosticators are predicting that Super Bowl LIII will take a bit of a ratings plunge. That doesn’t mean the CBS viewership won’t be huge for the big game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome – probably somewhere north of 100 million viewers in the United States alone.

But the thinking is that this will be the fourth Super Bowl in a row to see a decline in viewership. To put that in actual numbers, the average audience has dropped from more than 114 million in 2015 to 103 million for last year’s clash between the victorious Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

While the number may have been down anyway, more football fans might stay away because of the teams involved and how they got there (particularly the Los Angeles Rams, heading to the game after the infamous no-call for pass interference in New Orleans).

And then there are some just more interested in puppies and kittens than Rams and Patriots. For those planning to avoid the gridiron spectacle, there are plenty of Sunday, Feb. 3, alternatives for a wide variety of tastes. They include:

“Puppy Bowl XV” (3 p.m., Animal Planet, repeating at 6 and 8 p.m.): Yes, it’s the 15th football-themed celebration of canine cuteness. And, each year, 100 percent of the puppies and kittens participating in the “Puppy Bowl” have been adopted. And that’s the whole game plan behind this annual two-hour meeting between Team Ruff and Team Fluff: to promote pet adoption. More than 50 animal shelters and rescue organizations from more than 20 states are involved with this year’s event (last year’s “Puppy Bowl” was the highest-rated to date, attracting about 1.5 million viewers). More than 90 puppies will be romping, running, chewing and stealing hearts. Returning fan-favorite features include the water bowl cam, the kiss cam and the kitty half-time show. New features include “rufferree assistant” Shirley, a rescue sloth “keen to show off the slow-motion action throughout the game, and team mascots: baby porcupines for Team Ruff and a capybara for Team Fluff. “Puppy Bowl XV” also will feature three special needs players looking for a forever home; Pippi, a blind Jack Russel Mix; Bumble, a blind and hearing-impaired Australian Shepherd Mix; and Will, a three-legged Doodle Mix. A pre-game show begins at 2 p.m.

“Kitten Bowl VI airs at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, on the Hallmark Channel.  Keith MacDonald/Crown Media

“Kitten Bowl VI” (2 p.m., Hallmark Channel, repeating at 5 p.m.): The feline football game has been responsible for more than 25,000 shelter pet adoptions since the first event in 2014. TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern returns as host for the sixth “Kitten Bowl.” She is joined by Dean Cain and former NFL player Rodney Peete for all the play-by-play action, with commentary by former NFL running back Rashad Jennings and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason. North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation “drafted” this year’s teams for the two-hour game. The Hallmark Channel’s first “Cat Bowl,” featuring adult cats, premiered Saturday evening but repeats at 4 p.m. Sunday.

“The Office” marathon (8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Comedy Central): Spend the day at Dunder Mifflin with Michael Scott (Steve Carell), Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and the gang. The 14-hour marathon features episodes chosen from the acclaimed comedy’s 2005-13 NBC run.

“Worst Cooks in America” marathon (6 p.m., Food Network): If botched servings and failed meals are more to your tastes than blown coverage and fumbles, book a reservation for this marathon of episodes where bad taste is served up the culinary-impaired contestants.

“Aurora Teagarden Mysteries” marathon (11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Hallmark Movies and Mysteries): Candace Cameron Bure (“Full House” and “Fuller House”) has the title role in these six movies based on the mystery novels by Charlaine Harris (“True Blood”). The run of six capers: “The Julius House,” “Dead Over Heels,” “A Bundle of Trouble,” “Last Scene Alive,” “Reap What You Sew” and “The Disappearing Game.”

“Ancient Aliens” marathon (noon to 4 a.m., History Channel): You can go on a 16-hour journey with episode after episode tackling all kinds of mysteries, all leading to the same answer . . . yup, aliens. For those who can get enough of UFO theories and, of course, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos.

“Futurama” marathon (8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Syfy): Or you can spend six hours with the animated aliens of Matt Groening’s animated science-fiction comedy series.

“How I Met Your Mother” marathon (10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., WGN America): This is a run of 25 episodes culled from the nine seasons of the CBS sitcom co-created by Shaker Heights native Carter Bays.