The Real Action on Super Bowl Sunday

In this undated photo released by Animal Planet, ... AP

While millions of people will be watching Super Bowl XLV, millions of others will be tuned to – wait for it – Puppy Bowl VII on Animal Planet.

Oh you make fun now, but guess what? The event, which runs for two hours and starts at 3 p.m. EST, averaged nearly 1.1 million viewers last year for Animal Planet, the Nielsen Co. said. That’s nearly twice what the network averages in prime time.

It’s become big enough that it even has product placement, with a car company paying for the right to have its vehicle drive the border terriers, beagles, pugs, spaniels and Schnauzers out onto the field.

A total of 47 pups participated in this year’s Bowl, competing for the MVP Award, or Most Valuable Pup. Basically, the cutest dog wins.

Animal Planet casts the show, which was filmed last fall in the New York area, with the help of an animal adoption agency. Participating dogs are usually available for adoption, although most from this year’s show already have homes. They’re often snapped up because agencies advertise the dogs as “stars” of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. (AP, LA Daily News)

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