Backstory: Don't touch that dial!

As cable companies offer more and more channels, TV watchers are getting some unexpected choices. Here are just a few of the latest offerings fighting for viewers' attention:

Channel 3672 – The Hydrangea Channel

Watch hydrangeas grow from seed to blossom 24 hours a day. Tune into shows as varied as "The Light Blue Hydrangea," "The Bright Blue Hydrangea," and, for the whole family, "The Baby Blue Hydrangea."

Channel 6534 – The Pedicure Network

What game-show host's big toe is getting clipped? Hidden cameras in Hollywood salons focus on famous feet hour after endless hour. Is that Lindsay Lohan's torn cuticle?

Channel 3340 – Letters to Summer Camp Network

Offering a wide selection of shows in which anxious parents read their heartfelt letters to semigrateful children. Episodes include "Why Do You Need 20 More Pairs of Socks?" and "You Want To Do What?"

Channel 4543 – 24-Hour Shallot Network

The sophisticates' answer to the popular Scallion Channel, the Shallot Network offers a dozen shows devoted to the cultivation and cooking of small onions. Among them: "What's Happening With Shallots Today?" and "The Impact of Shallots on State Dinners Since Charlemagne."

Channel 4398 – Cheesemaking for Children

Turn your kids away from cartoons and on to educational series like "Brie for Boys" or "It's Good to Be Gouda." Your children will thank you, later in life, as they learn the value of a rind and the secrets of molds.

Channel 2222 – Lichtenstein Life

The theme song, "Who Needs Paris After You've Seen Lichtenstein?" probably says it all.

Channel 1992 – Pronunciation Network

Poe-tay-toe or Poe-tah-toe? Eee-ther or Eye-ther? Find out for sure all day long. Watch "The Noun Hour," "The Verb Show," and every proofreaders' favorite, "Adverbs Are Us."

Channel 9754 – Mime All the Time

Tired of sound? Fed up with laugh tracks? Watch Mime – 24 very silent hours a day. Now with special commercials that keep you guessing exactly what product is being advertised.

Chuck Cohen, an advertising writer, lives in Mill Valley, Calif.

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