NBC animal welfare correspondent and Water Mill resident Jill Rappaport is set to host and executive produce a new television series, Best in Shelter, which will put a spotlight on pets in animal shelters.
Rappaport is also the creator of the ongoing series, working in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She will travel to animal shelters to find canine and feline contestants, who will go before a panel of judges for the chance to be crowned Best in Shelter. The judges will be a rotating cast of animal experts, such as veterinarians and trainers, and celebrity guests.
“It has been my dream—ever since I created my beloved Bow to Wow series six years ago on The Today Show–to develop a program that celebrates the beauty, inside and out, of shelter animals,” Rappaport says. “The time has come—and long overdue—for shelter pets to shine as the true superstars they are! The win-win here is that hopefully every one of our featured fur angels, whether on the show or in the shelters I will be visiting across the country, will find a loving permanent home, which is what they deserve.”
Rappaport is a fervent supporter of her local shelter in the Hamptons, the Southampton Animal Shelter, and was the honoree at the nonprofit’s fourth annual Unconditional Love Gala last year.
“This series will help shelter pets all over the country,” Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Board President Jonathan McCann says of Rappaport’s new TV show. ”Not only will it shine a light on shelters, but it will showcase animals that await forever homes. Many of them pine away in shelters for years until they are adopted. This series will shorten their stay, and offer to the public first-hand exposure to the wonderful pets that are available.”
In addition to the series, a primetime special is planned for Valentine’s Day 2015 featuring finalists and a live studio audience.
Rappaport will begin visiting shelters in February.