Broadway Animal Trainer Bill Berloni Stars in Discovery Family's Original Series FROM WAGS TO RICHES, Beginning Tonight

Discovery Family will debut its first original series, FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI, tonight, August 6 at 9/8c.

Each hour-long episode brings viewers into the world of award-winning eminent theatrical ANIMAL trainer Bill Berloni, whose personal passion for ANIMAL activism has opened up the door to a litter of untapped talent-allowing him to rescue countless homeless dogs, and to give them a second life as stars on stage. Known for casting and cultivating Sandy-the dog featured in the original run of Broadway's beloved Annie-Berloni possesses the unique ability to transform shelter dogs into stars through a combination of patience, persistence, trial-and-error and a pinch of Dr. Doolittle.

FROM WAGS TO RICHES WITH BILL BERLONI will follow Berloni in his work as an ANIMAL trainer and in rescuing animals, while also spotlighting his happy and hectic home life in Connecticut with his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenna and menagerie of 41-and counting!-dogs, ducklings, a donkey and a handful of other farm animals.

About Bill Berloni:

Bill Berloni was a 20-year-old apprentice at the Goodspeed Opera House when a producer offered him his big break: a chance to act professionally and gain his Equity Card. In return, all Bill had to do was find and train a dog to play Sandy in the original production of Annie.

What Bill didn't know was that this was a bigger challenge than it seemed. ANIMAL performances in movies or television can be stitched together using different takes, different camera angles, and even different animals. To perform in a featured role, an ANIMAL actor would have to be trained to ignore the distraction of the audience and respond to the same cues the same way night-after-night, just like his human counterparts. It had never been done before.

Bill found his dog at a local ANIMAL shelter - beginning his career-long commitment to using rescued animals. Through a combination of patience, persistence and trial-and-error, he developed his revolutionary humane training techniques - learning how to teach actor and ANIMAL alike to create a successful performance. Annie became a huge hit and Sandy became "the longest running dog on Broadway," never missing a performance in more than seven years.

Since then, Bill and his handlers have provided domesticated animals of all species and sizes, found in shelters, humane societies or rescue leagues, for Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, regional theatres, special events, the New York City Ballet, motion pictures, television and commercials. When their careers are over, the animals return to Bill's Connecticut farm.
In 2011, Berloni received a special Tony Award. His animals have been part of more than a dozen Broadway productions including The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Legally Blonde, Camelot, La Bête and Woman in White. He has also trained animals for two dozen Off-Broadway shows and more than 100 regional productions.

Bill is widely recognized as an expert in ANIMAL behavior and for his dedication to rescue work. In addition to his work as a trainer, Bill is currently Director of ANIMAL Training and Behavior to the Humane Society of New York. He has a BFA in theatre, and is a published author and actor.

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