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Wagging the dog. Purina, sponsor of the "National Dog Show," has reached an agreement with the show's rights holders NBC and Carson International for a multi-year extension of the presenting sponsorship. It has also indefinitely locked in the successful post-Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade time slot from 2002, according to the network. Last year, the show's debut attracted 19 million viewers, according to NBC, which produces the two-hour long special. The event is put on by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia and is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.

The televised program includes segments on pet health and wellness. John O'Hurley, former "Seinfeld" actor, will repeat as host of the event along with canine expert David Frei, who will offer analysis of the competition. NBC doesn't have the lock on camera-ready pooches, however. USA Networks has made the Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show, which aired in February, a key part of its programming, complete with pre- and post-show coverage and Pedigree as the main sponsor. Dog shows have become more popular on TV, especially after the 2000 film "Best in Show," directed by Christopher Guest, said a network spokesman. In the film, character actor Fred Willard delivered a hilarious star turn as a TV commentator with zero knowledge of dogs and dog shows. Now if they could just get him to host....

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