Television: Squawking With the Animals

Animal Planet's show-biz approach has made it a cable hit. Now National Geographic enters the alpha channel's territory

The news is not good. It is ovarian cancer, and it is inoperable. Listening to the sympathetic doctor, the woman who brought her stricken friend here now has a job to do: explain death to her own daughter. She goes into the lobby and finds the girl. And...sniff...excuse me...

A show that can get you to cry over a spiny hedgehog without feeling entirely ridiculous is doing something right. It's just this understanding of the connection between people and animals that has made Emergency Vets and the rest of the addictive fare on Animal Planet into a cable success story....

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