Exclusive: Hallmark Channel to Produce and Air 2016 AKC National Championship Featuring Actor Jerry O'Connell
Inauguration day isn’t the only big event taking place in January.
PEOPLE is pleased to announce exclusively that Hallmark Channel will produce and air the 2016 AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin featuring host/actor (and dog lover!) Jerry O’Connell. The three-hour special premieres on Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. ET/PT — just two days after the presidential inauguration, so there are no excuses for not tuning in (unless, of course, you’re a cat person).
The largest dog show in North America — with more than 5,000 of the top national and international dogs participating — the National Championship is being filmed in Orlando, Florida, on Dec. 17 and 18. A partnership between Royal Canin pet food and Hallmark Channel helped bring the show back to national TV for the first time in several years.
The show will be anchored by AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo and sportscaster Jason Knapp, and include special appearances by Jerry O’Connell. O’Connell is a proud dog owner, but there’s still a learning curve for the actor. He’ll be on site in Orlando, learning about dog showing, judging, and so much more.
“As the owner of a German Shepherd and lover of all dogs, I am excited to be a part of this year’s AKC National Championship,” O’Connell said in a statement given to PEOPLE. “Between getting to see some of the most exceptional dogs in the world to learning about new breeds and the amazing things dogs can do like agility courses and dock diving – I know it will be an experience of a lifetime.”
Check back here for more coverage of the show before its TV premiere in January.