NEW YORK (AP) Watch out Villanova and Kentucky (and Arizona and Northwestern), there's a new set of cats going wild for March Madness.
Time for Meow Madness , coming in April.
Buoyed by the success of the Kitten Bowl, the Hallmark Channel is debuting a new show hosted by Beth Stern that will air on Monday, April 3 - the same day as the NCAA men's basketball national championship game.
''Meow Madness is sure to be purrfect,'' Stern deadpanned.
Stern, the wife of radio shock jock Howard Stern, is a huge cat ambassador who works year-round with the North Shore Animal League of America, urging people to spay, neuter and release and adopt pets.
The Sterns are foster parents to kittens - a few hundred in all over the last couple years. Beth tries to find permanent homes, but letting go is never easy.
''It's the hardest thing in the world to see them go,'' she said. ''I think I've cried over 300 times.''
The show is staged on a mini basketball court on a midtown Manhattan soundstage. Kittens, with cute names like Meow Ming, Lonso Fur-Ball, Stephen Furry and Meow-Tumbo roamed over the court as well as a faux-Vegas casino area where they could ''make bets.''
''I played basketball when I was younger and love the sport,'' Stern said. ''What could be better than putting together the sport I love with all of these adorable kittens.''
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