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Mary White's Energy Room An Apt Tribute in Denver

Mary White, the longtime cable (lastly Charter Communications) executive who died in March, is being honored in a way friends say she would have loved. This Saturday (July 18), a room will be named for her at Judi's House, a Denver facility founded by National Football League quarterback Brian Griese to help young kids and their caregivers after a parent dies.

The room will be called the Mary White Energy Room. It's a small, soft-walled place where two children at a time, watched by an adult, can “let out and express emotions in a really safe environment,” Judi's House executive director Karmen Carter said.

“It reminds us of her — because it's small and it's everyone's favorite,” said Jeannine Hansen, a friend of Mary's from the cable business who succeeded her on the Judi's House board of directors.

White was very active at Judi's House, especially early on. She was close friends with Griese, who wanted to create a place where kids can convene and help each other deal with the emotions unleashed when a parent dies, as his mother did when he was 12.

It was tops among charitable outlets she discussed before her death, Hansen said. And donations from the cable industry have flowed in: about $35,000 to date, according to Carter.

Ron Cooper, the former AT&T Broadband president and another close friend who's spearheaded the fund-raising, said donations have come from individuals, operators, vendors, consultants. “Almost everyone I've asked has enthusiastically agreed to do so,” he said. Comcast Foundation committed $10,000, as one example. The money will support ongoing programming, Carter said.

About 65 people are expected at the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. naming ceremony, to which anyone who knew White and want to celebrate her memory are invited, Cooper said. For more about the organization, at 1741 Gaylord St. near City Park in Denver, see on the Web.

Syfy's Park Sparks 'Eureka' Moment

Syfy — the network formerly known as NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channel — took over a portion of New York City's Rockefeller Center to introduce its new brand to consumers.

Several hundred New Yorkers stopped last Tuesday morning (July 7) to view the dedication of the Syfy Imagination Park — a unique 27-by-200-foot set featuring computers, television screens, white colored seats and a super-sized lollipop.

The park— which remained part of the Rock Center landscape through last Friday (July 10) — is part of a bigger Syfy campaign in the city that will provide free Wi-Fi service (“Wyfy by SyFy”) across various parts of the Big Apple over the next year.

Sci Fi president David Howe heralded the “park” as a representation of the network's take on the genre — imaginative, inclusive and inspirational. (For more, see page 10.)

Syfy executives and stars later rang the opening bell at NASDAQ in Times Square.

The park opening gave the Wire another chance to ask a Syfy star about the new branding.

Joe Morton, from the network's popular series Eureka, said the new name just broadens the network's horizons. “It's not that Sci Fi isn't part of the deck, the deck is just larger now,” he said.

Eureka returned for the second half of its third season last Friday night. On Thursday, Morton (“Henry Deacon” on the show) joined co-starSalli Richardson-Whitfield(“Allison Blake”), executive producer Jaime Paglia and Syfy original programming executive Mark Sternat a screening and panel chat at New York's Paley Center for Media.

Stern, who green-lighted the “dramedy” about a town filled with geniuses, said it was special to him.

“It really represents our first foray into this whole new idea of broadening out our genre and broadening our network to a large audience without losing what I think makes sci-fi special, no matter how you spell it,” he said.

Paglia paraphrased Stern as saying, after the first meeting about the concept, “you really didn't know what the channel was missing until you heard that pitch, in terms of grounded in the real world but with a sort of sci-fi element — that you were looking for that thing.”

That Syfy thing.