Time to Block All Calls from Brentwood

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Sociological evolution alert: The business of donning a tool belt and gaffing a pole isn't confined to guys with low-rider pants and butt cleavage if last week's SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is any indication. Lots more women were seen strolling amid the trenchers, pole-line hardware and advanced electronics last week. But the message that tech doesn't have to be totally "geekville" apparently hasn't been spreading to schools just yet. A recent report from the American Association of University Women in Education Foundation (AAUW), reported by sister publication CED magazine, shows that high-school girls view tech-focused people as "unambitious" and "anti-social." Humph. Somebody needs to show these girls a "Ditch Witch."

- - - Pay-per-view executives were cringing last week after hearing that beleaguered former football star O.J. Simpson wanted to take a lie-detector test live on PPV to once again prove his innocence in the death of his wife, Nicole Simpson. The industry thought it had rid itself of the O.J. phenomena in 1995, when it turned down a live interview with the former football star after his acquittal on charges that he murdered his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman. Former Simpson dream-team lawyer F. Lee Bailey, however, downplayed a PPV event last week on CNN, saying that Simpson instead would take a nontelevised lie detector test if someone put up $3 million, which-if he passed the test-would go toward finding the real killers. Even if Simpson sought a PPV slot, In Demand executives said, they would have passed on the offer.

- - - It looks like actor Denzel Washington has developed a thing about boxing. The Wire hears that Black Entertainment Television is developing a movie about boxer Jack Johnson and talking with Washington about directing it. There's also word from officials that BET might play the flick in theaters in a couple of markets prior to presenting it on cable.

- - - The other evening, attendees at last week's Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau Local Cable Sales Management confab returned to their hotel rooms in Denver after a day of sessions to find dollar bills slipped under the door, with stickers saying, "TV Guide 'Around Town' Is Found Money." No, this wasn't one of those Comedy Central fake bills with a cartoon of President Clinton. TV Guide Channel used the real dollars to promote Around Town, a new community calendar in which affiliates can sell local clients. Attendees could then register their bill's serial numbers to win $1,000. The bills also came in handy for tipping bell caps when checking out.

- - - A few attendees at last week's SCTE convention harrumphed over the presence on the show floor of Mainline Inc., a hardware refurbisher and reseller. After all, Mainline principals Norma and Mark Lipp face seven felony counts of reselling stolen property, specifically cable amplifiers, in California. Further, they noted, signs advertising the appearance of "stolen-base" king and ex-Los Angeles Dodger Maury Wills seemed like nose-thumbing about the charges to those who have suspicions about the Torrance, Calif.-based firm. The charges arose when cable-security investigators questioned the source of amplifiers in Mainline's stock. Donald Etra, attorney for the Lipps, said the charges are totally without merit. The charges were based on evidence from a convicted felon whom the Lipps helped to convict, he said. The company owners will vigorously defend themselves when they have their preliminary hearing June 21 in Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court, he added.

- - - Forget cable muscle: Congressional candidate Susan Bitter-Smith, executive director of the Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association, now has athletic muscle behind her. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White, who now coaches the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers, threw his support pass her way last week, hosting a fund-raiser for the cable lobbyist. "I'm pleased to be able to help in some small way," the footballer said in a release.

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