The Puppy Bowl, which began as a joke between network executives, has blossomed into a counter-programming success garnering more 9.2 million viewers for Animal Planet last year despite going up against the Super Bowl. It's a relatively simple feel-good success right? Cute puppies playing around on a set have captured American hearts their Nielsen ratings?

But the making it work isn't that easy, according to Yahoo's Dylan Stableford details the massive effort needed to get the bowl on the air. After the auditions (which include head shots), editors trim 70 hours of puppies frolicking into a two hour broadcast. What took us by surprise was the production level of the seemingly no-frills Puppy Bowl VIII: 

Last year, the production moved from a small soundstage in Silver Spring, Md., to a six-camera shoot at a full-on studio in New York. Nearly 100 people work on the Puppy Bowl—from animal wranglers to stage managers to directors and producers, and, of course the referee, Dan Schachner, a commercial and voiceover actor from Oceanside, N.Y., who calls the penalties on the field ("illegal retriever down field," "excessive cuteness") and cleans them up, too. ("Intentional grounding" refers to, well, you guessed it.)

For everything you wanted to know about the Puppy Bowl head on over to Yahoo.