After the holiday parade, before the football and around the time the smell of turkey consumes the house, Thanksgiving Day television viewing will once again go to the dogs.
More than 2,000 of the top American Kennel Club-sanctioned pooches, including dozens from the Lehigh Valley, will compete for prestige and $20,000 in prize money during the National Dog Show, set to air noon-2 p.m. Thursday on NBC.
Working dogs, Sporting dogs, Terriers and Toys… Even the casual canine connoissseur could harldy help but enjoy seeing them strut their stuff accompanied by occasionally waggish commentary by the dulcet-voiced O’Hurley and Expert Analyst David Frei. The National Dog Show has barking rights as far as ratings — last year 19.3 million viewers tuned in.
Clearly this ruff duty breeds excitement for O’Hurley. “To watch the show and the great curve of growth it’s had in the 12 years we’ve done it is just extraordinary,” he says. “It’s become part of a family tradition every Thanksgiving Day.”
O’Hurley, a later-in-life Dad at 59, also enjoys having his 6-year-old son William Dylan along for the furry festivities. “In fact, last year, the video piece that I did with him went viral on the Internet, the piece called ‘The Perfect Dog,’ and it’s just coming out as a children’s book: The Perfect Dog,” says O’Hurley.
O’Hurley is in the midst of a national tour of Chicago, playing Billy Flynn. He’s been flying back and forth between National Dog Show chores and performances. He also has the big screen A Remarkable Life coming out next month, a romantic drama in which he plays a priest. What makes the one-time Dancing With the Stars favorite and J. Peterman of Seinfeld keep up such a pace? ”I have an Irish work ethic. I’m not happy unless I’m working.”
His son travels with him as much as he can. “He’s in first grade now, so we have to kind of pick and choose when we bring him,” O’Hurley says.
And, last but not ‘leashed’, there are his own four-legged family members. The unabashed dog lover reports, “We have two. We have a Cavalier King Charles and a little Havanese – Sadie is the Cavalier, and Lucy is the Havanese.
“I’ve never had a home without a dog.”