Howie Mandel didn't have any pets growing up, but now he is obsessed with funny animal videos. So much so, that he is teaming up with Nat Geo WILD and Instagram to host Animals Doing Things.
Think of the six-week series (which premieres at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT on June 16) as a cross between Mandel's prime-time show America's Got Talent and America's Funniest Home Videos.
The videos come from the popular Instagram account @AnimalsDoingThings, and Mandel provides his own commentary.
"It's incredibly entertaining, incredibly funny, incredibly shocking," he said in an interview. "We all talk about what we share online: 'Did you see that! Let's watch it again.' That's what the show is. It's not a written show. I'll add a voice to a video, we'll watch it and laugh together."
Mandel said he did not grow up with animals as a child. "But my wife is a serial rescuer of anything and everything she finds on the side of the road," he explained. "We had a crow that has been released in the wild. We've had turtles, ferrets, hedgehogs, snakes, three dogs. I feel like we live in an ark."
"We have had many cats that we rescued. We’ve had a rescue elephant. We got complaints from neighbors and $45,000 damage to the back yard: The elephant sank into the lawn and damaged the sprinkler system."
Subjects range from the bizarre—a bunny on a bunny on a remote-controlled battleship in the middle of a flood—to heartwarming intimate moments between people and their dogs.
"It's not just dogs and cats and bunnies. We have buffaloes, rhinos, wild monkeys—anmals from all over the world that people can now capture on video and post."
Whether funny, scary or touching, none of the videos involvement maltreatment of animals. "We have made sure not one animal would be hurt," he said. "I wouldn’t condone that."
The show also will have animal experts providing insight into the science behind the animal antics.
"Every time I see a cat fall and land on its feet, I find that amazing. It would be nice to be sitting next to someone who explains the reason a cat falls on its feet,"Mandel said.
He plans to have fun with the videos by adding his own personal experiences. "Look at that raccoon eating corn and my uncle Nathan eating corn—the noise was so annoying."
How will Nathan feel about being compared to a wild animal? "I may have lost an uncle but gained a raccoon," Mandel laughed.