Thanksgiving is for the dogs — at least on TV.
And don’t get all grumpy, cat lovers. You’ll be able to enjoy those turkey sandwich leftovers in front of the small screen’s feline-focused lineup starting Friday.
At noon on Turkey Day, NBC will air its wildly popular “National Dog Show” following the telecast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Some 1,500 purebred canines compete for the Best in Show title and $20,000 in prize money during the Kennel Club of Philadelphia event, watched by a whopping 22 million viewers last year.
Actor and author John O’Hurley (“Seinfeld,” “Dancing with the Stars”) presides over the 13th annual broadcast with assists from David Frei of USA Network’s “Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show” and NBC’s Mary Carillo, reporting from the benching area and inside the show ring.
If you’re not dog-tired by dinner time, flip over to Fox for its new special “Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular,” at 7 p.m. on WFLD-Channel 32.
Dolton native Jane Lynch (“Glee,” “Hollywood Game Night”) co-hosts along with Oscar winner Hilary Swank.
The two-hour program is a celebration of rescue dogs. Be prepared for some heartstring-tugging tales about shelter animals in need of adoption, including a 38-pound Australian Shepard named Shaunessy from Yorkville. (Fox press materials say “Even though Shaunessy was given up because his family didn’t have time for him, he remains an incredibly sweet dog who is very athletic and obedient.”)
A long list of celebrities — Kristin Chenoweth, Oak Park’s Kathy Griffin, Emmy Rossum and Scarlett Johansson, among others — will dole out awards for cutest puppy, best viral dog video and the like.
If you’re more of a cat person, Friday kicks off a big week. As in Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week, now in its fifth year.
Last year’s lineup had a program that pit then-Chicago Bear Devin Hester in a race against a cheetah. This year’s stunt puts big-cat tracker Boone Smith in an acrylic box in the middle of a lion feast for an up-close look at feeding habits in “Man v. Lion” (8 p.m. Friday).
Other Nat Geo Wild premieres include “Future Cat” (8 p.m. Sunday), a program exploring how big cats could evolve in the face of extreme environments.
“Leopard: Ultimate Survivor” (8 p.m. Saturday) follows a mother and her cubs as she guides them through their early years, while “Tiger’s Revenge” (8 p.m. Dec. 1) centers on a rivalry between two sister tigers in India’s Ranthambore National Park. That’s not to be confused with “Tiger Wars” (8 p.m. Dec. 3), which tells the story of cats who reclaimed an ancient kingdom in India.
Like your cats on the smaller side? Lifetime’s original movie “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” debuts at 7 p.m. Saturday.
It’s fitting that Aubrey Plaza — the curmudgeonly civil servant on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” — will be the voice of Grumpy in this live-action Christmas movie, starring the real-life Internet sensation Grumpy. (Given Lifetime’s recent casting snafus with its Aaliyah biopic, we should be thankful the movie doesn’t have Betty White doing the voiceover and Marcel the Monkey as the titular cat.)
The real-life Grumpy, whose name is Tardar Sauce, has little reason to be a sour puss. The celebrity cat has nearly 6 million Facebook friends, a robust Twitter following and has been the guest of honor on TV shows around the world.
The Lifetime movie revolves around the friendship that develops between Grumpy, who’s living in a lonely mall pet shop, and 12-year-old Chrystal (Megan Charpentier), the only person who can hear Grumpy’s cat talk.
Asks Lifetime: Will Grumpy learn the true meaning of Christmas? Or will it be, in her words, the “Worst. Christmas. Ever?”