Fox’s NFL pregame coverage will include a special treat for Denis Leary fans and animation aficionados in the form of two football-oriented animated shorts.
Fox Entertainment announced on Friday that it will premiere two animated shorts based on the Icebox series “Poker Night,” inspired by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s iconic 1900s art series, “Dogs Playing Poker.” Per Fox, “Dogs Playing Poker” centers on five dog friends — Brownie (Leary), Daphne (Elaine Hendrix, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”), Ditka (Roy Wood, Jr., “The Daily Show”), Froyo (Bobby Kelly, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”), and Stan (Adam Ferrara, “Rescue Me”) — as they banter about football and other timely sports topics.
The “Dogs Playing Poker” shorts are created by, co-written and executive produced by Emmy-winning writer/producer Jim Margolis (“Veep,” “The Daily Show”) and produced by Fox’s animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment. Leary co-wrote, executive-produced, and voiced the lead character in each short.
“At long last Fox lets America find out what we dogs think about football. Spoiler alert: we’re very upset there isn’t a single NFL team named after a canine,” Leary said in a statement. “Cats, horses, birds — even dolphins — all have their own teams. Not one dog! Throw us a bone, guys. Literally and figuratively.”
The first “Dogs Playing Poker” short will air on Saturday, Jan. 9, during Fox NFL Pregame at 4 p.m. ET. Coverage of the NFC Wild Card match between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET. The second “Dogs Playing Poker” short will debut on Sunday, Jan. 17, when Fox NFL playoff coverage continues.
“If only Fox thought of spawning a new animated series from vignettes like this 30 plus years ago…imagine the possibilities,” Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox, said in a statement. “By pairing ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ and Fox NFL, we have a unique opportunity to incubate content from top-tier talent in Denis, Jim, Jack, Rob and Howard, and introduce new characters of what might become the next building block of our iconic animation brand in a smart and strategic way.”
“Dogs Playing Poker” is part of Leary’s recent broadcast-direct deal with Fox to create, develop, and produce comedy, drama, and animated content for the network. Jack Leary (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”), Rob Greenberg (“The Moodys,” “Frasier”), and Howard Gordon (“24,” “Homeland”) will also executive-produce.