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Interview with John O'Hurley and
David Frei of the 16th annual broadcast of the "National Dog
Show" Presented by Purina on NBC 11/16/17
NBC UNIVERSAL Moderator: Erika Lewis
November 16, 2017
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you
for standing back. Welcome to the National Dog Show
Presented By Purina Press and Media Call.
presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only
mode. If you have a question, please press the 1, followed
by the 4 on your telephone. At any time during the
conference you need to reach an operator, please press Star
zero. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded,
Thursday, November 16, 2017.
I would now the turn the
conference over to Erika Lewis. Please go ahead.
Erika Lewis: Hi, everyone. Thank you, Kathy. We're very
happy to have John O'Hurley and David Frei with us today to
talk about the 16th annual broadcast of the National Dog
Show Presented by Purina. The show will air at Thanksgiving
Day at noon in all time zones on NBC, right after the Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade.
We are very happy to have
your questions today and please feel free to rejoin the
queue if you have more during the conference. And we're just
ready to get started. Thanks, Kathy.
you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to
register a question, please press the 1, followed by the 4
on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt top
acknowledge your request. If your question has been answered
and you would like to withdraw your registration, please
press the 1, followed by the 3. If you’re using a
speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your
Again, to register for a question, please
press the 1, followed by the on your telephone. One moment
for the first question.
Ladies and gentlemen, to
register for a question, please press the 1, followed by the
4 on your telephone.
Erika Lewis: Kathy, if it's
Okay, I can take things up for the questions.
Operator; Certainly, go ahead.
Erika Lewis: Hi, guys,
I'm sorry, we're just waiting for the queue to fill up here.
But I guess let’s start off with how are you feeling in your
16th year of the show?
John O'Hurley: Sixteen years,
John O'Hurley: It
seems like yesterday. You know…
John O'Hurley: Parts of it seemed like - parts of it seemed
it like yesterday. But as, you know, you look back and you
look at all the photos from the years past and the things
that we've done, it becomes quite a compendium of
experience. And it's kind of fun to see all - the way that
the show has evolved over the 16 years. And you think of all
the wonderful dogs that we've seen and it's been quite an
experience, it really has been.
David Frei: What
makes it fun is that it’s a little bit different every year.
I mean, we're doing the same thing, having a dog show but -
and being competitive and all, but you get to see different
dogs every year. You get to see some new breeds. You get to
see different funny dog teams going on.
And I get to
hear, you know, the latest from John and his view of our
world which makes it great and fun for me. It makes it fun
for the dogs and people, but it also makes it fun for all
the people at home who are watching this. So I think we're
going to have great fun and I hope that is evident to
John O'Hurley: Yes, David, you bring up a
very good there. When we - I remember sitting down next to
you and you’re describing some 160 breeds I think back in -
when begun at 2002 and we're up - or over 190 right now I
think in recognized breed, if I'm correct. It's amazing to
see all of the new breeds that have come over the years.
It's been kind of - we have kind of a rookie class every
David Frei: And practice pronunciation, you
know, the Saluki or the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. And
now they need to the Netherlands Kooikerhondje coming out
John O'Hurley: Don’t even start it. Don't even
start with the new Dutch Spaniel. Listen, I'm going to have
to put that name up on the mirror as I'm shaving in the
morning and I'll try to pick up one syllable at a time.
David Frei: We'll work with you, John.
Hey, guys. And I do have a question from the line of Krista
Chan from TV Megasite. Please proceed with the question.
Krista Chan: Hey, guys. It's nice to talk to you.
John O'Hurley: Hello.
Krista Chan: Hey, my
question is for both of you. I read that you had been going
for 16 years now and that last year was the highest rating.
What is the thing that you think keeps people coming back
year after year to watch the show?
Well, people are in search of good family programming that
everybody can watch and I think this is why - this is what
makes it such an unusual piece of television program. And I
would look back over the whole best bastion of great
programming decisions and, at least, in my memory, this is
one of the great ones because it's the great family day of
the year and no one wants to wrestle for the remote when you
have, you know, 15 or 16 people in the family room and
they’re all watching the television.
What do you
watch that everybody can watch? Well, everybody loves dogs
and there's nothing that - you can’t find for you when
you're - as you're watching the show. You get those little -
soft, little brown eyes and everybody is hooked in. So it's
wonderful, whether you’re 4, you're 94, there's something
there for you. And I think it gives us an opportunity to
present the type of programming that I love about
television, and that is everybody can sit down and watch it.
David Frei: What he said is perfect and I've learned
that John - that he most often says the perfect thing and I
agree with him 100%. And we're very proud of being able to
do that for people.
Krista Chan: Well,
congratulations and I look forward to watching.
Frei: Thank you.
John O'Hurley: Thank you.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, as a reminder, to register
for question, please press the 1, 4 on your telephone. And
our next question comes from Kelsea Willenbrock from
NBC.com. Please proceed with the question.
Willenbrock: Hey, guys.
John O'Hurley: Hi there.
Kelsea Willenbrock: This question is for both of you. Is
there any returning favorite dogs that have been in the past
that you are looking forward, in particular, seeing compete
David Frei: Well, one, certainly, is
coming and that’s the English Springer Spaniel that was the
Reserved Best In Show Dog last year. So it will be fun to
see if he can take that next step forward and win it all.
We do know most of the dogs have entered, it's just that
a lot of them haven't made up their minds if they’re to this
show or going to a different show. But I think we're going
see more dogs from the Top 10 in this country than we've
ever had on the show before, so that’s always going to be
fun. And I think it feels - maybe the next great star is
going to show up, that we always hope for. We were there,
the day this dog won its very first Best in Show, and now
it's gone on to make history and we’d love to be a part of
John O'Hurley: I would echo what David was
saying about the Springer. I think last year, if my memory
serves, that was one of the prettiest Springer Spaniels I
think we've had in the history of the show and it was my
hands-down favorite to win Best in Show last year. And I was
actually - and when it didn’t win, I was pleading for calm
in the streets because I just didn’t how the public is going
to take it.
David Frei: We see that calming voice
from John. There’s a piece (and people on the) issue on the
Newsstand Now, I think, that asked for me three top - for
dogs that like our top competitors this year. And I said the
Springer, of course, I said a beautiful Whippet named Anna
that won the Hound Group in Beverly Hills. John and I saw
that when we did our first Beverly Hills Show this year. I
love that dog too, and then a nice little Frenchie that’s
owned by Patricia Shaw that’s been doing a lot of winning
So I think those two dogs to watch, but we have
a lot of dogs to watch. We have over 2,000 of them for the
first time and 190 or so different breeds and variety, so
we'll find what's…
O'Hurley: You know, I will have to - David, I want - yes,
David, I what to echo something that you just said about the
Frenchie. It's very interesting.
If you want to watch
the evolution of the show to see kind of how our show kind
of affects - kind of the public’s acceptance of certain
breeds and I think we've seen the Frenchie as a good example
of that, they were popular back, say, 10 years ago when the
show was still in its infant stage. But I think a lot
because we have shown the Frenchie so much, I think, on the
show and talked so much about them is that they have become
one of the most popular breeds now in America.
Frei: I'm sure we have contributed to that and I think
that’s the thing that both John and I are very proud of is
the educational (part) of what we do, and that’s telling
people what these dogs were bred to do, and about their
temperaments and their personality, their conditioning needs
and things, so that people can look at a dog if they’re
trying to find the right dog for their family and for
themselves, then hopefully we’ll give some information that
could them started down that road.
John O'Hurley: And
of course, for those that attend the show, it is a bench
show and one of the last remaining ones of its type, which
allows for great interactive experience. We have tens of
thousands of people there, out of the Oaks Center there in
Pennsylvania where we do the show.
And there is a -
it's such an interactive experience, and even more so for
families and especially for children who are just learning
about dogs and they get to - instead of learn the name -
learning, you know, the names of five different breeds as
they would in normal - their normal socialization, they have
a chance to see all 190-plus breeds that are there
represented. So it's a great learning experience as well
even if you’re there - especially if you're there.
Operator: And out next question comes from Matthew Ward from
NBC Sports. Please proceed with your question.
Matthew Ward: David and John, thanks for the call.
John O'Hurley: Yes.
Matthew Ward: My question is that
historically, over the last 16 years, have you seen any kind
of breed do particularly well in certain events, whether
it’d be the Frenchie you just mentioned?
O'Hurley: Well, I'll go back, if there was one - there was a
Scottie - several Scotties winning for a period of time
there and it came out of one particular handler that -
owner/handler. David, you can talk more about that. But I
would say that Scottie and subsequent entries kind of
monopolized the show for several years, am I right?
David Frei: You are right. I think that, generally speaking,
terriers have great success in the show and that has to do a
lot with their personality. A judge really needs to consider
that terriers have different personalities that not every
breed of dog is supposed to act like a terrier. Thank God.
Don't write that. Don't tell (the jury people I said) that.
But they are - you know, they were bred to hunt for
trouble, or bred to find the rats, and the mice, and other
worm, and things like that, so they are on their toes
looking for trouble all the time. They don't really care
what the person on the end of the leash tells them too much,
but they have to a little bit to be successful. But I think
that puts them on their toes and being alert, and taking a
nice picture for judges a lot, so that helps them be
successful in the ring.
So - but, you know what, we
got a lot of great dogs out there that are perfect examples
of their breed, which may not include being on their toes
and not paying attention to their humans. So we hope we can
show that in the show.
Erika Lewis: Thanks, guys.
Operator: And our next question comes from Joanne
Anderson from Babylon Beacon. Please proceed with your
Joanne Anderson: Hi, David. This is a
question for you. Joanne, hi. How are you? Since it’s
Thanksgiving and it's the all the American holiday, and a
dog like a Golden Retriever has never won one of the big
shows like Westminster or this, what impact do you think it
would have if a Golden Retriever won as the Best in Show in
the National Dog Show? I've been (inaudible).
Frei: We have to get John out restoring calm in the streets
Joanne Anderson: I think so.
David Frei: …the world loves Golden, the world loves Labs,
they have not won the Best in Show at this show yet and
neither at Westminster. So - but they’re being loved and
they love their people, and they want to be there and be a
part of it. If we can get a Golden or a Lab to win, we have
to bring them home with us. So it would be great fun.
Joanne Anderson: Right. And the other part of my
question is I see sandwich effect on Thanksgiving that I
don't see on Easter, having the show in between the parade
and the hunger factor, you know, where the people who are
watching the dog show have knife and fork in their hand and
they’re getting to close to banging on the table. So you're
- they’re in that window that you have, where Easter is much
more open. Do you think that will in the long run affect the
size of the audience between the two holidays? Well, I think
they don't have a parade leading up to Beverly Hills.
John O'Hurley: Yes, well, that’s a good - it's a good
point. But it also - to its credit, it's a day - it’s kind
of a family day of the year when there's not a lot of
competition. We don't have a lot of sporting events to go
against. We don't have a lot of other things going on.
Joanne Anderson: Right.
John O'Hurley: And it's
still a family day when everybody is still kind of hanging
around. So it's kind of a quite, neutral evening and I think
it's a good spot for the show. But it's a brand new - this
is brand new property for USA and I think they are going
into an educational process of how do they embrace the show
and give it the spotlight it deserves, right? It's kind of a
- I think this is kind of a learning curve for everyone
But the show certainly, in terms of its
content, held up to its promise. We were a little
disappointed in the ratings, but I think the content is
there. and I think if we approach it from a different
standpoint in terms of promotional energy, then I think that
the show will get the attention and the audience that it
really deserves on that day.
Joanne Anderson: Okay,
thank you very much. Have a good time. I appreciate it.
David Frei: Thanks, Joanne.
Operator: Ladies and
gentlemen, as a reminder, to register for questions, please
press the 1, followed by the 4 on your telephone.
Erika Lewis: Hi, guys, it’s Erika. While we're waiting on
the queue, I just wanted to bring up there’s a question that
I think John got a few days ago that I have actually never
heard in like the 16 years we've done this, and that is what
would you tell cat people about the dog show to encourage
them to tune in?
David Frei: Cats are different than
dogs, there was no argument here. Dogs want to live in our
world. They want to be with us and go everywhere. We do
things together. Cats, it's their world and they are just
letting us in every once in a while and we love that. We
love that there's a difference between the two and I think
that’s what makes it fun, as you're watching the dog show,
maybe have a cat, you say, “My cat would never do that, “ or
John O'Hurley: Well, but, you know, the
nice thing about it, David, is that the cats - the people
have cats because they do the same things that the dogs do
for them. They just happen to prefer that style of animal in
their life, but they do the same thing.
And I always
go back to just the notion of rounding off the edges of the
human experience is that they make you kinder, gentler
people that they - you know, they take that brittle side to
of all us down and just round off the edges and make us, you
know, a little more self-deprecating and realize that, you
know, we're all just bozos on the bus.
That’s good. I like it. I use that as my own somewhere.
Erika Lewis: And could you both tell us
a little bit about your own dogs at home? I know, John, you
have a new addition to the family.
Well, we do and I love to talk about it too because we've
been blessed with some really great purebreds. We have
Cavalier King Charles named Sadie and a wonderful little
Havanese name Lucy, and they’re about 10 years old. And as
you would imagine, over 10 years and those styles or those
of types of breeds, they tend to get a little bit sedentary,
and they find their little spots during the day and they
kind of nap together, and they kind of walk around together,
and they kind of just, you know, move at a very kind of
sedentary type of lifestyle.
Well, enter a little
3-month-old rescue dog that I found at the St. - when they
open again the St. Louis Humane Society, a huge, beautiful
facility this year out there and I was doing the press event
out there in the opening of this beautiful facility.
And I said, “I really should have a dog in my arms while I'm
speaking to the press. And so I went in the back of the
Humane Society there into the shelter and I found this dog.
And again, you don't find dogs, they find you. And there was
like two people walking into a bar and their head snapping,
you know, towards each other. And I have walked over and saw
this rust-colored (Toto) style dog and it was a combination
of a Yorkie, a Pomeranian and a pug, believe it or not.
And this dog just had an energy and a look in its eye
like I have never seen, and so I took this dog into my arms.
When I delivered the opening address there in front of the
press, while I'm there holding the dog, it is continuing to
burrow inside of my jacket. And every time it burrows in
further, the audience of 400 there kept going, “Ah, ah, ah,”
So, finally, when I finished - as I
finished my remarks, there were two little legs sticking out
in the end of the tail. It had buried its way all the way
under my arm. And so I pulled my lapel open and I said, “Who
wants to come to Beverly Hills?” So that’s the only time
that I have ever done that in my life and so we rescued a
wonderful, wonderful little dog, and I tell you it has
changed the energy of our entire household.
tell why, as David just said that, you know, terriers own
the ground and they are a different sort of dog. Well, she
has been the Marine Drill Sergeant For these two sedentary
family members, the other two dogs. And I'll tell you she is
- every time the other dogs hit the ground, she is on top of
them wrestling and flipping them over and it's been just the
most - it has changed their lives physically.
are exercised by this little dog in a way that I've never
seen before. So it's been such a wonderful, wonderful
addition to our house and such a surprise and the fact that
it has just changed the energy totally.
That’s great. It's very nice. My dogs, Angel and Grace, now
we moved back to the Oregon Coast after living in New York
for 14 years, so we live a block off the beach and they like
the beach life, there’s no question.
Grace is 8 and a
half, and our Brittany. She loves running the beach. And
Angel, my Cavalier, she takes a lot more steps to run the
beach than Grace does, but she’s 10 and a half now. They
love the life there and as I always say on our dogs, taking
project with Purina, I thank my dogs everyday for letting me
be the guy on the other end of the leash because they change
my life every single day. I'm happy to have them as part of
John O'Hurley: You know, it might be a nice
time to bring up the fact that Purina this year is going to
be doing a wonderful thing. Erika, you can actually fill in
the details of it. But, you know, not only there’s a great
property and human toll in the disasters that we had earlier
in the year, the weather, these two great - three great
hurricanes that have come through. But there was a huge,
huge animal toll as well.
And Purina wants to do
everything they possibly can to just aid them in and so they
are going to be contributing a large amount of money based
on the social media that has contributed during the show.
Erika, can you talk a little more about that specifically,
you know, to address that they can talk about?
Lewis: Yes, absolutely. So Purina is inviting pet owners
across the country to share what makes their pet the best
one for them. And so if you tag at Purina and use the
#dogthanking on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, any time
from now through the 26th, Purina will donate $1 to an
organization called GreaterGood.org and they provide relief
for people and pets in areas affected by the hurricanes that
happened recently. So it's a really great initiative that
they are doing for us.
And I think we are just about
out of time. I don't believe we have any more questions in
the queue, so I'm going to let you gentlemen go. I want to
thank David and John for their time today, and we hope that
you all tune in to the National Dog Show Presented By Purina
on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you very much.
Thank you, everybody.
John O'Hurley: Thank you,
David, nice to be with you.
Operator: Thank you.
David Frei: Okay, John, we'll talk soon.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the
call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask
that you please disconnect your lines. Have a great day.
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