Compete for Tail-Waggin’ Rights as America’s Top Dog
"Greatest American Dog" on CBS
Do you – and your canine pal – have what it takes to be proclaimed the doggone best? This summer, look for “Greatest American Dog ” to air on CBS – a reality show that you can really sink your teeth in. “Oh Behave!” host Arden Moore chats with casting producers Jacqueline Lenz and Cristina Lujan on how to be a contestant for this show. They are sniffing out the country to find 12 personality-plus dogs of all sizes and talents (people, too). The dozen teams will live under one “ruff” with new challenges awaiting them each week. In the end, one team will earn the title of “America’s Top Dog” plus some ka-ching – cash. Enough for a mountain of kibble – and more! Tune in and find out more. It could be the show that changes you – and your dog – fur-ever! Talk about woof power!
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Arden Moore: Welcome to Oh Behave on Pet Life Radio. I’m your host Arden Moore for another exciting episode. You know, today I just drove back from Palm Springs to my home in Ocean Side, and I was attending this big cat conference and there were no hissy fits there, so I was very happy about that, and during my trip home I spent a few miles behind this SUV that had a bumper sticker that read “My German Shepard is Smarter Than Your Honor Roll Student.” Is this dog and this dog’s owner so smart and talented enough to earn the title America’s Top Dog? You know, just what does it take to be proclaimed the country’s number one canine? I’ll give you a clue: you don’t have to have a name like Lassy. Well today we’re going to find out. Today my guests are Jacqueline Lenz. She is a senior casting producer. And Christina Lujan, who is a casting producer for a soon to be released television show on CBS, you guessed it, it’s called America’s Top Dog. Hey, big paws up to both of you Jacqueline and Christina, for being on the show.
Jacqueline Lenz: Hi, thanks for having us today Arden.
Christina Lujan: Hi Arden.
Arden Moore: Alright, well we’re going to get into what it takes to be America’s Top Dog right after this commercial break.
Arden Moore: Welcome back to the Oh Behave show on Pet Life Radio. I’m your host Arden Moore. We are doggone proud to have both Jacqueline Lenz and Christina Lujan. They are part of the producing team for a cool new show that’s going to air on CBS called America’s Top Dog. Now for some of you that like to sing and they are idolizing about the opportunity to be on a show where tail wags rule, here is your opportunity. You know, there’s a lot of questions I have for you ladies about this. Can you sort of give me in bite-sized pieces if you will what the whole premise of the show is. I don’t know, Jacqueline, you want to start?
Jacqueline Lenz: Sure, no problem. Well I’ll start by saying the title America’s Top Dog is actually the title we’re working with right now. It’s still in development, although it definitely is airing probably this summer, we are still working on the title, but the show basically we’re searching the nation for America’s top dogs and we’re bringing together about 12 teams of owners and dogs to compete over several episodes, actually about 14 episodes for the title of America’s Top Dog.
Arden Moore: Oh, that’s awesome. I mean, how and why did this idea for a show come about? I mean, I’ve watched other shows where there are apprentices and people that want to be idols and America’s got some kind of a talent if you will, but I’m really, really happy that you’ve got something about the dogs, so can you give us a little background on how this show concept came to be?
Jacqueline Lenz: No problem. Well let’s be honest, you look around and dogs are everywhere today. There’s not limit to what dogs can do with their owners, I mean dogs are big news. So really it was just, we’re kind of shocked it took this long to put together something for primetime network television that is all about dogs and the owners who love them.
Arden Moore: And anything you’d like to add Christina?
Christina Lujan: Well, sure. I mean you look at networks like Animal Planet and Caesar Milan, they’ve brought, you know, animals onto television and that’s fantastic because we are, we’re pet lovers and they’re such an important part of our life and they bring so much joy to our life that, as Jacqueline said, it’s about time somebody brought it to primetime television.
Arden Moore: Well I got to tell you, my two dogs Chipper and Cleo are getting giddy. I think they’ve already set the TiVo, you know, and it hasn’t even aired yet. I mean they’re pretty smart dogs, they’re smarter than me. You’re right, you’ve hit it on the head. It is a now 41 billion dollar industry, this world of pets. I was blown away when I went to this recent conference and found out that we actually spend more money on our pets than we do on candy or toys combined. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of Kibble. I think you’ve got an automatic built in audience from the itty bitty doggy lovers to the “Ooh, I got a big dog. I love my big dog” kind of fan.
Jacqueline Lenz: Well you know there are, from what I understand there’s about 90 million dog owners in the country and when you talk about, you know, the way people indulge their dogs, we’ve found the most amazing things. There’s people who have their dogs go to work with them everyday. The dogs actually do work. There’s people who take their dogs to a doggy spa where they get their toenails done and doggy massages. So, it is…
Arden Moore: Are you jealous?
Jacqueline Lenz: Yes, totally.
Arden Moore: Yeah.
Jacqueline Lenz: I’ve seen some places that, some places people take their dogs, I’m like, “Well I’d like to stay in a place like that. That looks pretty nice.”
Arden Moore: Well you’ve got to practice on your woof woof talk, you know…
Jacqueline Lenz: Yes.
Arden Moore: I don’t know how you walk on all fours but, you know, those might help you get in a little bit, you know. And you would actually be drinking bottled water out of a beautiful porcelain bowl guaranteed, I can tell you that. That’s what happens. I travel a lot with my two dogs and I work on a magazine called Fido Friendly, which is for people who do travel with their dogs, and it’s almost like the red carpet treatment. You know, they get, at The Golden Door Spa in Colorado, my big dog Chipper got a hour long massage and bath followed by, after a three hour hike in the woods. And when I…
Jacqueline Lenz: Wow!
Christina Lujan: Wow!
Arden Moore: came into my hotel room there was the very happy Chipper, a Golden Retriever/Husky, who had her nails done, who was plopped on her own new doggy bed, and she had a gourmet, organic of course, treat there and water, and I was like, “Gosh, I don’t even get a breath mint on the pillow.” So…
Jacqueline Lenz: Well that’s what we’re talking about, yeah.
Arden Moore: Yeah, so I think you got a great audience. I mean, now I know some things are still being finalized and developed in the show, so can you give our listeners a little bit of insight into what you’re looking for in these people/dog teams.
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely. I’ll start by saying, you know, because the dog population and dog owner population are so diverse these days, there’s really no putting one label on what we’re looking for, what I would say is we are looking for dogs of every shape, every size, mixes, purebreds, dogs who surf with their owners, dogs who dance the conga with their owners, dogs who are managing and agility dogs, dogs who just, but most of all, really dogs who have a really fantastic relationship with their owner, dog and owner relationship, as well as the desire and ability to learn things quickly and try new things.
Arden Moore: Okay. And it sounds like what you’re saying too, you can have the worlds most talented dog if you will, but part of this, you’ve got to have a person that can step up too and not just be a slug and holding the other end of the leash, right?
Jacqueline Lenz: That’s correct. The relationship between the owner and dog is going to be really at the forefront of this show.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh. And are they all going to stay in one place or you got a big old dog kennel for people and their dogs or what’s the housing situation?
Jacqueline Lenz: That’s what makes this show so unique…
Arden Moore: Okay.
Jacqueline Lenz: and I think of being unique amongst a lot of reality shows is that all the dogs and all the owners are going to be living together under one roof…
Arden Moore: Is that roof or roof? Sorry, you know I was going to do it, you knew I was going to do it.
Jacqueline Lenz: Exactly, and it’s going to be a beautiful place, it’s going to be totally dog friendly, lots of outdoor area for them to enjoy, some really cool things that are going to be built to the show specifically, and it’s going to be quite a full house with 12 dogs and the 12 owners.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh, I’m just thinking of the walls right now, if you’ve got any drool masters there. I hope you’ve got some easy to clean up drool products available for you. I don’t know if you’re going to have any, you know, little porta-potties in there or what but I just can imagine what the design of that sets going to look like for that house. I mean, it’s probably dog heaven, right?
Jacqueline Lenz: Like nothing any dog or any person’s ever seen would be my guess.
Arden Moore: You know, you could be doing a whole spin-off, you could be doing a dog makeover show after this, you know, the opportunities are endless. And when the show is, comes about, I mean people are hooked on these reality shows. I mean, it’s nice to see, you know, TV shows starring our stars and our favorite celebrities, but it seems like we have this fascination with, you know, regular folks dealing with some challenges, I mean, everything from trying to lose weight to singing a good song to, you know, trying to be smarter than a fifth grader. So can you kind of compare how this show tentatively called America’s Top Dog might compare with some of these really popular reality shows that are all now being televised.
Jacqueline Lenz: Well sure. I mean, I think I, first I would start by saying that, you know, we’re starting with a larger group, you know, 12 dogs, 12 owners and by the end, just like with a lot of other shows, the judges are going to whittle that down to one dog, one owner that are the top dog team in the country. So it does have that same nature. There’s that elimination up to the point of being a winner. And, you know, you mentioned American Idol, not that I know we’re going to have any Simon Cowell’s or Paula’s exactly, but, you know, we are going to be having, every week the judges are going to be there, evaluating and judging and kind of taking notes of the different talents, of the different teams to kind of come to the culmination of choosing that one. And like, you know, a lot of the other shows there’s a significant cash prize tied to the winnings, you don’t just get the bragging rights for America’s Top Dog ‘cause there’ll be a very nice cash prize at the end for the winning team as well.
Arden Moore: Well I’m sure the two leggers in the group are very motivated by that and I think probably the dogs will feed off that motivation, don’t you think, ‘cause I don’t see a dog going and opening up their own checking account.
Jacqueline Lenz: No, that many more doggy massages for that dog.
Arden Moore: Oh that’s right, that’s what you need to do, you need to say, “Hey Bowser, guess what? I make this much money but I’m going to make sure that after taxes and everything you will have a lifetime of massages from your favorite pedicurist around, right? I don’t want to talk too loudly ‘cause, you know, Chipper might have some canine envy here with all these big celeb’s dogs that might win this. Is there any special tips you can offer people or is there any way, like they’re listening to the show, how they can find out more about applying for this?
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely, absolutely…
Arden Moore: I mean is there a deadline? How does, how do you go about trying to get into the show?
Jacqueline Lenz: Sure. Well we’ll start by, you know, they can visit www.cbs.com where you can find out a little bit more about the show and download the application and that would be the first step. They also can email us casting producers directly. And I’d be happy to give that email address now or later in the show, whatever…
Arden Moore: Lets give it now and later so people have it.
Arden Moore: TV as in television, right?
Jacqueline Lenz: TV as in television, correct.
Arden Moore: Right, I just want to clarify.
Jacqueline Lenz: No problem. And people can use that email address not only to submit little story inquiry about their dog, as well as pictures of them and their dog, but also just ask us questions. You are speaking to the people who will be answering those questions, so the people have anything at all, want to know more about the project, they can feel free to contact us there.
Arden Moore: We are on the show Oh Behave and we are speaking with Jacqueline Lenz and Christina Lujan. They are the casting team for the new show that’s going to air this summer on CBS called tentatively now America’s Top Dog. We’re going to get back into how you can get to be a contestant on this show after this commercial break.
Arden Moore: Welcome back. You’re listening to the Oh Behave show. I’m your host Arden Moore. We have Jacqueline Lenz and Christina Lujan from the soon to be unleashed television show on CBS called America’s Top Dog. I wish I could bark really, but just humor me, I am like barking like with delight that you guys are doing this. Paws up everybody. We were just talking about how to apply and go onto the cbs.com website. I think you’ve heard of that little TV network around, and you can download the application or you can email the casting producers directly and make sure, let me get that again, Jacqueline go ahead and give it again.
Arden Moore: Awesome. And is there a certain deadline you’re going for so we can get to prod these people not to be on the next show America’s Top Procrastinator?
Jacqueline Lenz: Yeah, we are accepting applications through February 15th, and the sooner everyone gets in their applications the better, but that is our official deadline.
Arden Moore: Okay. And you want to air it on the summer, you said it looks like it might be 14 episodes, is that correct?
Jacqueline Lenz: That is correct. 14 episodes, we’re going to be filming this spring and we are planning on, well we’re hoping I should say, to air it this summer.
Arden Moore: And is the locale, I’m not asking for a street address, but geographically speaking are we in Tahiti or Toledo, where are you going to be filming?
Jacqueline Lenz: We’re going to be filming in the LA area, Los Angeles area…
Arden Moore: Okay, all right.
Jacqueline Lenz: So there is, there is not a specific location I can tell you, but it will be in the Los Angeles area.
Arden Moore: Okay. And if you could explain a little bit about this show and the application, I mean I looked at the application and it’s like you want everything but the dogs shoe size if they wear shoes, but I notice that you’re really looking at the owner and the dogs personality, and you know, we’re human, we’re not perfect and everything, so, you know, can you touch upon a little bit about the application because it’s not something that you can just hurry through. It is a little substantial and I like that because you’re really doing a good job of screening up front, right?
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely. The application is, it’s mostly an exercise in enjoyment, as well as getting, you know, throwing the bone in the ring to apply. It’s a fun way to let us know more about the dog owners personality, as well as the dog personality, as well as a little back story on how this dog and owner pair came together, what are their likes and dislikes, and it’s a chance for us to get to know more about people and kind of find out who we’re dealing with up front and I hope everyone enjoys filling it out because we enjoyed putting it together.
Arden Moore: Well I love it. I mean, you even have things like to name your dogs favorite toy and favorite place to walk. But then again, you also ask us to rate the persons, I like this question, what are your favorite types and breeds of dogs and why? And you even ask them the least favorite types and why. So that gives you a little insight into the person, and if your dog has any special talents or what you really like to do with your dog, and my favorite one was “How would your friends and family describe your relationship?”, and in my case it’s Velcro. I have never met a dog like Chipper who loves to be with me and other dogs and other people. In fact, she’s super Houdini dog, she breaks out to get to me, not to leave. So, I mean, I’ve been on trips where she’s been in a hotel room and she’s shown up at my meetings.
Jacqueline Lenz: That’s really funny. You know, I think that that question is very revealing. We know that would be a hot topic. How would other people describe that relationship, because I think…
Arden Moore: Yeah.
Jacqueline Lenz: although there are 90 million dog lovers out there, there’s a lot of people who aren’t on the inside of those relationships, and I think that they’re often amazed just like we are by that sincere tight knit connection that people have with their dogs, so…
Arden Moore: Now, I know things are still forming, the format for your show, but are you planning to have like three judges? That seems to be what you see a lot, or a zillion judges, like 90 million pet lovers or, can you share a little bit about, is there a host?
Jacqueline Lenz: There will be, there will probably be a host as well as judges. I have no idea yet how many judges, but I can guarantee it’s going to be definitely an exciting mix of people. We’re looking at a number of people right now, and it’s going to be a really exciting mix of personality, celebrity, dog expertise, dog lovers, but we don’t know at this point exactly who the judges or the host is going to be yet.
Arden Moore: I mean think about it Jacqueline and Christina, sometimes the judges and the host really bring out the best in the contestant in different shows and, you know, if their energy is such a little bit of, you know, barking back and forth if you will between them, I think that’s going to make it even more entertaining.
Jacqueline Lenz: It’s definitely an integral part of a shows dynamic, so we are, we’re putting a lot of work into finding, not only finding the top dogs in America, but also into finding the top judges and the top hosts as well.
Arden Moore: Now are you going to make sure that they’re all current on their shots and vaccines and all that, and they don’t have any fleas, is that also part…?
Jacqueline Lenz: The dogs or the judges?
Arden Moore: No, I’m talking about the judges. Dogs are pretty good, you know, but yeah, I’ve seen some people with fleas flying around, so just be careful.
Jacqueline Lenz: Exactly.
Arden Moore: So if somebody gets to be proclaimed America’s Top Dog, well, how would you compare that with like Miss America or winning the Nobel Prize, I mean, and with this love that we have for pets, I don’t know, what’s your thoughts?
Jacqueline Lenz: I think it’s going to be right up there. What do you think Christina?
Christina Lujan: I agree. They’ve got the bragging rights to tell everybody that they know and don’t know that they are America’s Top Dog, that they own America’s Top Dog.
Arden Moore: Oh my gosh. I mean, can you imagine, that’s on their license plate, you know. I can just see it, tee shirts, everything, you know. You know what would be funny is I like the fact that your show is very, very receptive to dogs of any size, any breed and any level of drool, and so I think, I don’t know what God was doing when he created dogs, but her sure had quite a creative imagination ‘cause if you look at a lot of other species, they’re about the same and there’s a lot of tweaking, you know, there’s 40 some different cats, but there’s over 150 dog breeds that go anywhere from fitting in the palm of your hand to being big enough to fit you in the palm of their paw, and so I’m just really excited to see what’s going to happen on this show. I can just see a little, you know, Teacup Poodle or a Yorkie duking it out with a Great Dane or a Great Pekinese, you know, for the title.
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely. The diversity in the dog world is incredible, and that’s why when you ask, you know, what makes anybody a good candidate, it’s hard to say ‘cause every dog personality and dog breed, I mean they all have their own specialties, and so, you know, the diversity and the interaction of the different types of dogs is going to be a really fun part of the show and a great, it’s a really entertaining thing to watch I think.
Arden Moore: Now you did allude to something called “moola”, cash, and that’s still being cachinging up the scale, but is there like a golden dog bowl or any other kind of hardware that the winner will also get to take?
Jacqueline Lenz: Well gosh, you know, I haven’t heard about anything like that yet, but I think that I will make a note of it and pass it on…
Arden Moore: Yeah.
Jacqueline Lenz: because that’s a pretty good idea, I think that’s only fair, right?
Arden Moore: Yeah, yeah, make sure it’s something that, you know, if it’s some kind of thing for the dog, plastic’s not a cool dog bowl, just FYI. They really like porcelain and, you know, gold, anything that they can’t sink their teeth in, if you know what I mean, especially Labs. They chew ‘til they’re two and they shed ‘til they’re dead. So, I can just imagine what that house is going to be like with 12 dogs and 12 people. You must have the world’s best vacuum cleaner going to be working there, huh?
Jacqueline Lenz: I think we’ll have to have ten of the world’s best vacuum cleaners will be most likely, yes.
Christina Lujan: Yeah, and we can assure you that every week, I mean those dogs are just going to be rewarded no matter what. I mean, from the weekly challenges to whoever ends up standing tall as America’s Top Dog, that dog is going to lavish in his reward.
Arden Moore: Oh, that’s great. You know, it also sounds like you may come on board and be an early front runner if your dog can be like a, you know, furry Einstein and master a lot of tricks, but it also sounds like to me that there may be some sleepers that may end up winning the show because of the chemistry they have with their dog, and you touched upon this ability for them to be willing to try new things.
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely. Being America’s top dog isn’t about just being good at one thing. I mean, it’s about being adaptable and the relationship between the human and the dog in this case I think will really come into play when it comes into wanting new things and trying new things ‘cause I think that trust between the dog and their owner is really important at venturing into new realms.
Arden Moore: Now is there any doggy manners or two legger manners you want to stress when they’re all under one roof?
Jacqueline Lenz: Well, you know, we’re hope, we’re hoping that they’re…
Arden Moore: You can’t pee in my dog water bowl.
Jacqueline Lenz: We’re hoping that most of these guys that are coming our way are pretty well-mannered already, but we can’t make those kind of rules.
Arden Moore: Yeah. I’m just saying, you know, sometimes when you get a bunch of people together under one house or whatever, you really get to see the real person, and I have a feeling if I was a betting gal that the best manners might be displayed by the dogs.
Jacqueline Lenz: I would, you know, just say from past experience, guess the same. Most dogs I’ve seen play together better than people.
Arden Moore: You know, we could actually learn a lot from dogs, you know. I just took my two dogs to this very cool dog park in Palm Springs where you look up and you see the Snow Cap Mountains in the distance and the two, which are 60 and 12 pounds, were hanging out with dogs of all sizes and they sniff their back ends, give a little canine handshake and off they go. I don’t know, I think there’s a lot of lessons in etiquette and manners and just fun that we sometimes miss being just people. But I think this show, America’s Top Dog is going to probably have some good lessons for all of us.
Jacqueline Lenz: Absolutely. I think there’s a lot we can learn dogs and their interaction with one another, even from the relationships with their human partners because I think there’s that unconditional love and that bond that is kind of supercedes everything that really is an important lesson that everyone can learn.
Arden Moore: All right. And I have a feeling each week you might be throwing a little curve dog bone at them on occasion too, right, to keep them on their paws?
Jacqueline Lenz: Oh, absolutely. There’ll be a new challenge every week, some new adventures for the contestants, the teams to try their paw at, and there’ll be a diversity of challenges so that no one type of talent is going to, you know, be successful every week. We’ll keep them guessing.
Arden Moore: Okay. Well I think that’s fair, you know. That is fair because there may be something where strength is an issue and another one where smarts is an issue and so I like that you have that set up. You got to admit Christina and Jacqueline that you had a blast coming up with this show idea and working out the tweaks, right?
Jacqueline Lenz: Completely. We’re still, we’re loving every minute of this casting process. I mean, every day, I’m telling you, I have never enjoyed work so much.
Christina Lujan: I have to agree. Listening to the people we’ve already been in contact with, hearing stories about their dogs, getting pictures of their dogs. What did you say Jacqueline today, that it felt so good that it hurt?
Jacqueline Lenz: Yes.
Christina Lujan: It’s just so cute to see them be amazing.
Jacqueline Lenz: Yes.
Arden Moore: We are listening to Jacqueline Lenz and Christina Lujan. They are the casting team on a new show that’s going to air on CBS this summer called America’s Top Dog. You got to tune into it, and we definitely will be following up listeners with the top dogs and their people, so yeah, woof, so stay tuned to details on Pet Life Radio as well. Before we bid you a big ado and before your life goes back to the dogs happily, are there anything’s you’d like to just say before you say goodbye?
Jacqueline Lenz: I just want to remind them that we are looking for all types of top dogs and owners. I mean we want everybody under the sun, every type of talent, whether your dog is an amazing agility dog, a lap dog, a dog who goes to work with you, a dog that dances the tango, we want them all, and you can apply at www.cbs.com and you can also email us for more information at email@example.com, and we’re just thrilled to meet all the best dogs in the nation.
Arden Moore: Well that sounds great, and I’m looking forward to you guys marmaduking it out and see what happens. You’ve been listening to the Oh Behave show on Pet Life Radio. I want to again thank you Jacqueline and Christina for being my guests, and also my cool producer who makes this show happen every week. If you would like to learn more about this show or get a transcript of this show or any other show on Pet Life Radio network, just zip over to PetLifeRadio.com and click on the Oh Behave show. Have any questions, got some ideas for shows for me, just give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. So until next time this is your flea free host Arden Moore delivering just two words to all you two, three and four leggers out there: Oh Behave.