If you haven’t been living on the moon, you know that this Sunday the Super Bowl will be played (and if you didn’t know, you can find the details of the monstrous amount of coverage here). It’s become a national holiday of sorts, and also a day on which other TV networks have historically given up trying to counter-program anything new against what is traditionally one of the highest-rated programs of the year — and sometimes, of all time.
But in the last decade or so, some networks have caught on to the notion that by presenting “bowls” of their own — usually themed programming centered around a certain series, movie franchise or subject — they can draw in viewers who either don’t like football, don’t want to sit through the game if it becomes a blowout, or who, earlier in the day, would rather watch something else besides the six-hour-long Super Bowl pregame coverage.
Perhaps the first to truly cash in on this concept was Animal Planet with its now-legendary Puppy Bowl, which airs its eighth installment this Sunday. Puppy Bowl has blossomed into a cultural phenomenon in its own right, gathering many high-profile sponsors and a dedicated fan base. You can read more about this year’s event — and read about the cute starting lineup — here.
Springing off of Puppy Bowl’s success, other networks have tried similar “bowls” of their own over the years, most not reaching Animal Planet’s level of cultural recognition, many concepts not returning, but at least they are giving it the old college try. In addition to Puppy Bowl, here are some of the “bowls” and marathons other networks have in store for this Super Sunday:
Swamp People Marathon — 8am-6pm ET on History. History’s not afraid to get dirty with its “swamp” programming, and you can get a whole day of its hit series Swamp People (pictured) here. On top of that, during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, you can catch the 30-second commercial for Swamp People that the network has purchased.
Bring It On-a-Thon — 9am-7pm ET/PT on ABC Family. Am I the only who did not know that there have been FIVE Bring It On movies? They are all being shown in this 10-hour marathon, and apparently not in order: Bring It On Again (9am); Bring It On: In It to Win It (11am); Bring It On (1pm); Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (3pm); Bring It On: All or Nothing (5pm).
Being Human/Lost Girl Marathon — 9am-4am ET/PT on Syfy. Syfy gives you the chance to catch up with episodes of its hit series, starting with Season 1 of Being Human, followed by the current Season 2 episodes of Being Human, then the current episodes of Lost Girl.
Say Yes to the Dress/Toddlers & Tiaras Marathon — 9am-7pm ET on TLC. Six hours of Say Yes to the Dress episodes, followed by four hours of Toddlers & Tiaras.
Movies Women Want Marathon — 9:15am-1am ET on TBS. Perhaps assuming a number of women won’t want to watch the Super Bowl (though I haven’t found that to be the case), TBS is scheduling a “Movies Women Want” block. So tell me, ladies. Are these the movies you want? — The Perfect Man; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous; What Women Want; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; The Wedding Date; and back-to-back airings of Hitch.
Alaska State Troopers Marathon — 10am-3am ET on National Geographic Channel. Several episodes of the series, including a world-premiere episode, “Warrant Wonderland,” at 10pm ET.
Predator Bowl — noon-11pm ET/PT on Nat Geo Wild. This is a daylong airing of several documentary specials about nature’s greatest predators, including crocodiles, sharks, lions, tigers, falcons, bears and more. The marathon concludes at 10pm with the premiere of the special Lion Battle Zone, which visits Tanzania’s remote Ruaha National Park to examine lions and Cape buffalo as they battle it out against the unforgiving backdrop of the dry season at its deadliest.
Law & Order Marathon — noon-11pm ET on TNT. Showing Law & Order reruns is kind of par for the course for TNT on weekends, and interestingly, although they are also showing several reruns from 5am-noon, they are only designating the noon-11pm airings as their “Super Bowl Law & Order Marathon.” What will make the difference remains to be seen.
Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bowl — 1-3pm ET on The Hub. Four back-to-back episodes of Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures feature Strawberry and her friends Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding, Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue in their adventures in Berry Bitty City.
Auction Hunters Super Bowl Marathon — 1pm-3am ET/PT on Spike. Fourteen hours of Auction Hunters episodes might make the pregame show almost seem desirable by comparison.
Lingerie Bowl IX — 4pm ET on MTV2. Wow, there’ve been nine of these? I remember when they were snarky, one-off pay-per-view things many years ago. Now it’s a full-fledged league, with some pretty athletic ladies (who also are very pretty) competing hard. The matchup for this Bowl will be a repeat of last year’s with the defending champion Los Angeles Temptation taking on the Philadelphia Passion live from Las Vegas. A year ago, the Temptation edged out the Passion in a thriller, 26-25.
Lingerie Bowl: Credit MTV2
Swamp People: Credit: Zach Dilgard/History