NEW YORK — The producer of some of Sunday’s most highly anticipated television sat in a control room looking intently at a screen.
Sitting in a large chair surrounded by technicians, Simon Morris offered a mix of directives: “More smoke.” “Cut to the tunnel shot.” And then, referring to a particular star of the proceedings, “Freeze on Mr. Wigglesworth.”
Among the estimated 2.3 million people who work in arts and entertainment, many have unusual specialties. Few are as unusual as Morris’. His official title is executive producer for the Puppy Bowl. His unofficial title might be doggie auteur.
Morris’ task is to showrun: Produce, guide, edit and generally oversee all creative aspects of the big canine event, including the direction he gave from the control room while the Puppy Bowl was being shot. When Discovery Communications’ Animal Planet airs the event this Sunday — its 14th year of putting up a furry counterprogrammer to the big game — it will do so in large part thanks to Morris’ expertise.
Just like the Super Bowl, the Puppy Bowl has become huge business: It has sold out of its sponsorships, to general advertisers like Geico and Subaru and pet-centric brands such as Chewy and Bissell. Last year, 2.5 million viewers tuned in to the show and its re-airings over the course of the day-not the 112 million of the Super Bowl, but hardly doggie chow either.