- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Musical ‘Law’ chairs

Never mind “Wheel of Fortune” — the casting changes whirling around the “Law & Order” franchise are enough to make one’s head spin.

Annie Parisse, currently featured in the box-office hit “National Treasure,” will be the new assistant district attorney when shooting begins on the NBC series’ 14th episode this month, E! Online reports.

The 28-year-old actress takes over for Elisabeth Rohm, who earlier this year announced she would be leaving midway through “Law & Order’s” current season, its 15th. Miss Rohm’s character has been a series regular since the 12th season.

Miss Parisse will be the show’s fifth female sidekick for Sam Waterston’s prosecutor, Jack McCoy. Previous job occupants include Jill Hennessy (1993-96), Carey Lowell (1996-98) and Angie Harmon (1998-2001).

Miss Parisse, an Anchorage, Alaska, native, received a Daytime Emmy nomination for her 1998-2001 stint as good girl gone bad Julia Lindsey Snyder on the soap “As the World Turns.”

She also has a role in the upcoming feature “Monster-in-Law,” opposite Jennifer Lopez.

The actress is the second newcomer to the “L&O;” cast this season. At the beginning of the year, Dennis Farina signed on as Detective Joe Fontana, replacing longtime lead Jerry Orbach’s Detective Lennie Briscoe. That character, and the actor who played him, are moving to the franchise’s forthcoming spinoff, “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.”

Miss Rohm will be seen next in the comedy sequel “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.”

Dylan’s ‘Minutes’

Bob Dylan grants a rare — 19 years and counting — television interview this weekend for Ed Bradley and the “60 Minutes” team.

The singing hero sat down with Mr. Bradley at a stop along his current tour to discuss his career and the burdens of fame. Mr. Dylan recently released a memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One,” which recalls his early career in New York and other, more obscure memories.

“60 Minutes” airs at 7 p.m. Sunday nights on CBS.

HGTV turns 10

A decade ago, Ken Lowe figured television viewers would latch on to programming that spoke to not just them but to every room in their house.

Today, Mr. Lowe’s logic seems obvious, given the avalanche of home-fix-it shows created to release our inner interior designer.

In 1994, Mr. Lowe’s leap of faith seemed misguided, to say the least.

“Not everybody recognized, maybe even some of us who were there that fateful morning on Dec. 30, 1994, when we pushed the button and launched HGTV, the impact this network would have,” Mr. Lowe, now president and CEO of Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Co., told Associated Press.

Home & Garden Television celebrates its 10th anniversary later this month, while 87 million households keep tuning in for the latest home tips.

Before HGTV, fixing up the house and working on the yard was largely the province of PBS’ “This Old House” and “Victory Garden.” Now it’s prime-time fare, exemplified by hits such as ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Still, nobody does home and gardening 24/7 like Knoxville, Tenn.-based HGTV, which has broken into the top tier of cable networks with an 80 percent growth in audience since 1998.

HGTV is projected to end 2004 with a 12-month average prime-time rating of 0.9, putting it on a par with Discover and TLC, according to the network.

Kim Garretson, an editor for the Web magazine Livinghome.com, says HGTV is also a favorite in the building and remodeling trades.

“This might seem surprising since the network shows are aimed at consumers, and mostly women. But if you think about it, the industry’s product is one that only a TV network can bring alive and really show off,” Miss Garretson told AP.

Mr. Lowe, who had been working since the 1980s on the concept for HGTV, based on his own experiences in homeownership, says the key to HGTV’s success was reaching the nation’s heartland.

“I wanted Middle America to know there was a network that spoke to them,” he says, “that understood family values, that understood you could come to a place and watch programming and not have to worry about profanity, violence, gratuitous sex. I wanted that from day one.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports

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