If your dreams are filled with four-bedroom Victorians, Home & Garden Television (HGTV) may be your version of porn. Oak paneling. Oooh. Gazebos. Ahhh. Trash compactors. Mmm. For the rest of us, it's as interesting as watching grass grow. Launched Dec. 30, the cable channel offers 24 hours of remodeling, landscaping, and all things domestic: Martha Stewart Living sans Martha. In her place we get weathermen.
Bryant Gumbel's Today show foil hosts Willard Scott's Home and Garden Almanac. Between wince-inducing puns (''You'll love every shingle minute''), Scott introduces such topics as Dutch tulips and luxury tepees. Not to be outdone, Scott's ABC rival hosts Spencer Christian's Wine Cellar a half hour of tinkling piano music and interviews with vineyard owners. From one wine merchant, we learn that Chablis is popular because it's easy to pronounce.
But the channel does have nonmeteorologists, too. John Ratzenberger who played Cliff on Cheers brings us American Hobbies and Pastimes. (Perhaps he has more time for hobbies in the post-Cheers era.) And Star Gardens gives us a horticultural Lifestyles of the Rich and (sort of) Famous. See actress-singer Gloria Loring (yes, the Gloria Loring) explain how buried coffee grounds are good for growing strawberries!
Personally, I'll stick with Home Improvement.