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Court TV's on a Forensics Heat Wave

Just about the only thing Court TV isn't doing in its late-summer blitz for Forensic Files
is having Jack Klugman make personal appearances as Dr. Quincy.

That's by design, network senior vice president of marketing Evan Shapiro joked last week.

"We want to make forensic science cool with the 18-to-49 crowd and their kids," he said. "If we get Quincy, M.E.'s audience, we won't be happy."

What does make Shapiro happy is the confluence of elements that back Court's $2.5 million promotion for the nightly series, which kicked off Aug. 9 with minute-long messages in 1,500 theaters nationwide. The effort backs the second annual "Forensics Week" (Aug. 26 to Aug. 30) which features back-to-back Files
episodes on five straight nights.

Leading in is NBC's Aug. 25 launch of a limited four-night Sunday night Files
run. During those plays, the Peacock Network will air two 15-second spots promoting the show on Court TV.

The campaign also is pegged to Court's Mobile Investigation Unit road tour, a traveling forensics lab that will visit 20 locations. Working with the KlaasKids Foundation, an organization dealing with missing-children cases, the network invited children to come in to the MIU and be fingerprinted. So far, the fingerprints of 8,000 children have been digitally recorded, Shapiro estimated.

Court spent about $500,000 on the MIU and the 20-city tour.

The Children's Museum of Manhattan will host the final stop, from Aug. 20 through Labor Day weekend. On Aug. 22, Court will introduce a public-service campaign to distribute a forensic-science curriculum to high schools at no charge.

Many students and teachers already tape Files
segments for use with lesson plans, Shapiro said. "The feedback suggests this is a great way to get students interested in science again. We also want to do more with the MIU next year, and work with KlaasKids to fingerprint more than 100,000 kids in 2003."

Court officials want big things from the programming stunt.

Shapiro said Court this year tried to make the stunt "a locomotive, our version of [Discovery Channel's] Shark Week." It decided to build buzz over time and use guerrilla tactics, like the MIU and theater ads.

has averaged a 1.0 household rating in recent weeks, up from last summer's 0.7 rating.

Court's promos start on Aug. 22. Other vehicles include TV Guide
inserts in 14 cities and ads on USA Network and Sci Fi Channel.

In New York, Time Warner Cable will show Forensics Week and MIU promos on nine networks, and employ posters on New York Waterway boats, buses and billboards.