USA Keeps Puttin' on the Dog


USA Network has signed for another dozen years as home to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (the equivalent of 61 years from the dog's perspective). It is the longest rights deal of any kind, dog or human years, in the network's history.

USA's current five-year contract would have expired in 2006, but the new deal will take the agreement through 2016, or what would be USA's 34th straight year covering the show, which bills itself as the second oldest U.S. sporting event (140 years old) behind the Kentucky Derby.

The show, which airs today (Feb. 14) and tomorrow in prime time, was down a tad last year to a 2.9 household rating, still a strong rating for the network, and for the previous nine years had not dipped below a 3.4 (2.9 million homes).

The dog show has become something of a cult media hit, spawning lampoons such as Christopher Guest's 2000 hit theatrical comedy, Best in Show, and more recently a car commercial.