Through the Wire


Contributors: Linda Haugsted, Mike Reynolds.

Stay in School — and Go Print a Fool

It has won a Beacon Award and has been praised by educators, but Court TV's “Forensics in the Classroom” teaching modules for Cable in the Classroom might even be a magnet for new students in the schools that use them.

For instance, a teacher at La Habra, Calif., High School uses the modules for the basis of a three-year forensics course that has become so popular students are transferring to the Orange County school just to take it.

At a “crime” staged recently at the school, students arrived at the cafeteria to find an assortment of biological samples that will be used in classroom work over the next few weeks, including prints, blood and, er, barf.

“It's become a phenomenon,” said Court TV spokesman John Domesick.

About 22,000 science teachers across the country use the network's lesson kits to teach science classes, including chemistry and physics.

The program was prompted by teachers in the first place. They contacted the network and said they were fans of the show Forensic Files.

The popularity of the CSI TV franchise couldn't have hurt, either.

“It's become the chocolate over the pill” of science classes, Domesick said of the Forensic Files material.

(Spoiler for La Habra detectives: if the kids do their research right, they'll find that a bunch of fictional science geeks — the Philo-files, fans of TV inventor Philo Farnsworth — are the ones that dunnit.)

HGTV's the Toast Of Knoxville at 10

Scripps Networks pulled out all the stops recently to celebrate the 10th anniversary of flagship cable network Home & Garden Television. At corporate headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., Mayor Bill Haslam not only declared Nov. 19 “HGTV Day,” but the local business community held a reception for the network and its execs at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

That evening, more than 1,200 Scripps employees and their spouses attended a semi-formal gala at the Knoxville Convention Center. During that celebration, attended by HGTV founder and E.W. Scripps Co. CEO Ken Lowe, HGTV president Burton Jablin recited the network's Top 10 Rejected Show Ideas. The list included Lord of the Shower Curtain Rings, If Frat Walls Could Talk, Designed to Smell and Extreme Makeovers of Desperate Apprentice Housewives.

To bid goodbye to Scripps executive and bluegrass fan Ed Spray, who's retiring, the gang wrote a song dedicated to him that was performed, in a mock music video, by Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder. The song incorporated the names of Scripps' various networks, with lyrics like, “Take all those old projects off the shelf, now you know how to do it by yourself. Thanks for all that you have given, now it's time for some fine living!”

Imitation is Flattering to Fox Cable's Gardner

Lindsay Gardner, Fox Cable Networks Group's executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, got at least 10 e-mail messages last week about the most recent episode of Fox's hit show The O.C. That's because the series introduced a new female character — a cute smarty-pants who shares his name.

Associates of Gardner wanted to know how he had managed to get a namesake on the show. “I want the story,” said one person's e-mail to Gardner. “I did not realize that your influence had spread to the broadcast part of Fox's business. You should have waited until your kids were a bit older so they'd really appreciate this.”

Gardner swears it's just a coincidence that he now has a namesake on The O.C., and he doesn't know anyone who works or writes for the series. But he thanked his fans for having so much “faith in his influence.”

The Lindsay name-alike in The O.C., a potential love interest for lead character Ryan, is played by actress Shannon Lucio, who describes her character as “a quirky intellectual.”