Hallmark’s ‘Kitten Bowl’ Calls in the Big Dogs for Inaugural Event

kitten bowl

Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray and others sign on to watch the fur fly for inaugural feline sporting competition

The Hallmark Channel has enlisted some ringers in its challenge to Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl.”

Regis Philbin, celebrity cook Rachael Ray, “Today” personality Hoda Kotb and “Real Housewives” star Lisa Vanderpump have signed on for Hallmark’s first annual “Kitten Bowl,” its answer to Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl.”

Also read: Howard Stern’s Wife to Host First-Ever Kitten Bowl

Nicky Hilton, Rocco DiSpirito and  Chuck Nice (“The Hot 10″) will also participate in the event, which kicks off Feb. 2 at noon.

Beth Stern, animal-rights activist and wife of radio personality Howard Stern, will host the event, with John Sterling, the official radio voice of the New York Yankees, will provide play-by-play for the feline sports showdown.

Also read: Animal Planet Calls Hallmark Channel’s ‘Puppy Bowl’ Rip-Off a ‘Copy Cat’

The competition, which will consist of two preliminary playoffs and a championship match, will feature kittens vying for dominance as they run obstacle courses that include hurdles, tunnels, toys on strings and lasers.

In the run-up to the inaugural Kitten Bowl, Hallmark is launching a multi-pronged promotion campaign, beginning with the “Kitten Around” campaign, which encourages social-media users to upload stories, photos and videos of their cats.