Archive for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New show attempts smashing success

July 2, 2008

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Guys love to break things, burn them and blow them up. David Letterman has been milking that truism for years with his silly clips, and the series "Mythbusters" (7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Discovery) has coasted to cable success on the same notion. Now "Deconstruction" (8 p.m., DIY) arrives to demonstrate that the best way to test building materials is to tear them apart, torch them and fire two-by-fours at them with air cannons.

Every week, host Matt Blashaw will put a new item through the ringer. How strong is pressure-treated wood? Are granite kitchen counters worth it? In tonight's pilot, he demonstrates the differences between cheap windows and the best.

In one torture test, he puts a flame beneath a single-pane window and proceeds to fry an egg, demonstrating how easily heat can be lost. An egg "cooked" on double-paned window remains runny because the air between the glass is a poor conductor and therefore makes for better insulation. He then visits a factory that's making great strides, creating windows with insulation properties as good or better than walls.

¢ In what has become an annual tradition, the cast of "Clean House" (8 p.m., Style) has sought out the "Messiest Home in the Country." This year's winners hail from Temple, Pa. Mindy and Phil Wheeler are avid board-game collectors. They would love to have friends over for a game, but their sloppy lifestyle puts a crimp in their social calendar.

Host Niecy Nash and her team help the Wheelers evaluate their many possessions and separate the essentials from the expendable. The two-hour special repeats on Thursday and Friday, just in time for the Wheelers to declare their independence from clutter.

¢ The magazine show "Nova scienceNow" (8 p.m., PBS) offers a digest-sized glance at subjects including personal gene testing. Costs aside, would you really want to know your genetic history? How would you feel if you learned that you were predisposed to diabetes or cancer? And, more to the point, how would your insurers or potential employer or even a possible spouse react? Host Neil deGrasse Tyson looks at an issue that is quickly moving from science fiction to social reality.

¢ It's nice to see Jim Lehrer return to "The NewsHour" (6 p.m., PBS, check local listings) after being absent since April with heart troubles.

In a television news world known for loud personalities, long on opinion and short on wisdom, Lehrer provides reason and insight without raising his voice. He's a gentleman and a pro, and a former Marine who never wears his patriotism on his sleeve.

Welcome back.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ U.S. Olympic trials: swimming (7 p.m., USA).

¢ On three episodes of "Ghost Hunters" (Sci Fi), Manson memories (7 p.m.), ghosts overboard (8 p.m.), plantation poltergeists (9 p.m).

¢ A husband is suspected in his wife's poisoning death on "Primetime Crime" (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

TCM will spend every Wednesday night with movies showcasing performances by big bands, starting with the 1937 Busby Berkeley bauble "Hollywood Hotel" (7 p.m., TCM), featuring a cameo by an actor named Ronald Reagan.

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