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“Annie’s Search for Sandy” premieres Nov. 27 on Hallmark Movie Channel

Melissa Hayer Published: November 20, 2012

“Annie’s Search for Sandy” will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 on the Hallmark Movie Channel as part of a special two-hour commercial-free dog-themed programming event that also includes a feature presentation of the film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.”

The event is sponsored by PEDIGREE Food for Dogs, according to a news release.

Details, provided by Hallmark Movie Channel, are as follows:

Hosted by popular Today Show weatherman, Al Roker, “Annie’s Search for Sandy” goes on the road to animal shelters across the country in search of the perfect dog to play Sandy in the new Broadway production of the Tony Award-winning classic musical, ANNIE, which just opened to rave reviews at the Palace Theatre.

The search is conducted by Tony Award honoree Bill Berloni, acclaimed Great White Way animal trainer, who discovered the original production’s Sandy in a shelter in 1977.

Since that time, Berloni, a passionate animal rescue and welfare advocate, has been committed to casting all of his canine Broadway stars out of rescue facilities.

The 30-minute program chronicles Berloni’s compelling journey and his eventual discovery of Sunny, a two-year old terrier mix from the BARC Municipal Shelter in Houston, who, only 24 hours away from being euthanized, was plucked from the bleakest of fates to star as the loveable new side-kick to ‘Lil Orphan Annie’ on Broadway.

Viewers will watch as Berloni works with Lilla Crawford, the actress cast as Annie, to prepare Sandy for her stage debut and will learn some fun training tips that will transform their own dogs into stars at home.

Produced by Al Roker Entertainment and ANNIE The Musical LLC, in partnership with PEDIGREE Food for Dogs, “Annie’s Search for Sandy” will air immediately following a presentation of “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale.”

The partnership and story behind “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” signifies the shared belief that every dog deserves a loving home. Starring three-time Emmy Award nominee and Globe winner Richard Gere, three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen, and seven-time Emmy Award nominee Jason Alexander, the poignant and inspirational film is based on the true story of a dog who is rescued as a puppy by a university professor.

Over the years, the dog develops the routine of escorting his owner to the train every morning when he leaves for work and returning to the station each evening to greet him as he arrives home. When his owner unexpectedly dies, Hachi continues to return to the train station for a decade, devotedly waiting for his cherished master to come home, until he passes away himself.