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Law & Order White House

Note to network programming executives: Forget all that money for focus groups. Just hang out at the White House press room.

I was there Thursday (July 27) waiting to be herded into a bill-signing. I was sitting beside two women, both journalists, one in her late 30's, the other just out of college.

They were talking about TV and what shows they were "addicted" to. The older one said she didn't watch much broadcast TV anymore, but was hooked on Law & Order. "So am I," said the 20-something.

Why? "The stories are totally self-contained and fast-moving," said 20-something. "You don't even have to know who the main characters are."

Not exactly an advertisement for the continuing story arc, though certainly the kind of show that ought to syndicate well. In fact, both seemed to be talking about re-runs of the show on cable rather than their prime time originals–my daughter is hooked on the 11 p.m. repeats as well.

Another "addiction": Project Runway on Bravo. 30-something said that the first time she had watched she wa intrigued, the second time she was hooked. The younger said she had recently come home from a long weekend of producing an alumni magazine, put her feet up and indulged herself in a Runway marathon, show after show, describing it almost as if it were a bubble bath-like indulgence. Her collegaue admitted that, since a trip to to Singapore had preempted her viewing of the final show, she had stopped in at an Internet cafe there to find out who had won.

By John Eggerton