Groundhog Day has been celebrated for 130 years as groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, each year predicts the end of winter.
The date of Phil’s prognostication has been celebrated since 1886. This month “A Groundhog Day Story” will take Animal Planet viewers on a journey to reveal the history and legend of Phil and those who protect him throughout the year.
“A Groundhog Day Story” premieres Feb. 2 at 10 p.m., and at 11 p.m., again at 12 a.m., at 1 a.m., and at 2 a.m. … it’s Groundhog Day.
This is the legend surrounding Phil. If he sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has forecasted six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, then his prediction is an early spring. This has become an American tradition.
“A Groundhog Day Story” provides a first-ever comprehensive look at the history and legend of Groundhog Day, its impact on the town of Punxsutawney, Pa., and a look into the spirited group of volunteers responsible for all of it: The Inner Circle, who protects Phil throughout the year and plans the annual celebration in Punxsutawney.
The special also shares illuminating details about Phil himself, such as where he lives, what he eats, how he travels, what aggravates him and wife who is his companion.
“As Groundhog Day is the only national holiday dedicated to an animal, we at Animal Planet are proud to give Punxsutawney Phil and the Inner Circle a television home,” said Patrice Andrews, General Manager of Animal Planet.
“A Groundhog Day Story” also shares the storied history and steady growth in the popularity of Groundhog Day – from the first official event, documented in local newspapers, to the arrival of television broadcasts, and ultimately the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, where actor Bill Murray played a weatherman trapped in a personal time warp repeating the same day again and again, cementing Groundhog Day as a cultural phenomenon.
“A Groundhog Day Story” is produced for Animal Planet by Original Content Group where Vaibhav Bhatt and Charlie Foley serve as executive producers and by Discovery Studios where Jeff Kuntz is executive producer. For Animal Planet, Sarah Russell is producer.