MUST-SMELL TV: Fans of John Waters may remember that his Eighties film “Polyester,” starring Divine, was released in Odorama, offering viewers a sample of the scent of the late actor’s bodily emissions. Before that there was Smell-O-Vision in the Sixties. Now TV Guide is going to help readers sniff their way through the May 3 episode of NBC’s “My Name Is Earl.” In the next issue of the magazine, which hits newsstands Thursday, a scent card (with six different scents) will release aromas pertaining to the sitcom’s story line. On-air graphics will prompt viewers to rub numbered boxes on the card that will release the appropriate scent at different points throughout the show. Scents include new-car smell, obnoxious cologne and Oreo cookies, the exclusive sponsor of the card. Pete Haeffner, TV Guide’s senior vice president and publisher, declined to provide terms of the deal with Oreo — or with NBC and 20th Century Fox, which also had a hand in the cross-promotion. But it appears NBC may have the most to gain, since its Thursday-night ratings reportedly just took a turn for the worse. On April 12, the Thursday lineup of “My Name Is Earl,” “The Office,” “30 Rock,” “Scrubs” and “ER” resulted in NBC’s worst showing during the September-to-May season since People Meters’ debut in 1987 (People Meters is a device that measures TV viewing habits). As for TV Guide, ad pages are up 35 percent, or approximately 68 pages, in the first quarter of this year, from the same period one year ago. — Amy Wicks
PACKING LIGHT: In Harper’s Bazaar’s May feature canvassing three “chic women” on how and what they pack for a summer vacation, it’s not immediately apparent that two out of the three shared a different type of, well, baggage: They were both married to Elle international creative director Gilles Bensimon. Kelly Killoren Bensimon, who split from Bensimon last year, and Elle Macpherson, who was married to him in the late Eighties, may have shared a taste in romantic partners, but they diverge on their packing tips. Macpherson tells Bazaar the “worst travel disaster” (their words) is beauty product leaks. “To avoid any spillage, I pack toiletries in Ziploc bags,” she says. Whereas for Killoren Bensimon, the magazine says: “Ziploc bags stay in the kitchen” — she favors Prada and LeSportsac pouches. Irreconcilable differences? (For more on Killoren Bensimon, see Fashion Scoops, page 12). — Irin Carmon
WORKING THE NETWORK: The May 7 issue of Forbes is all about “The Power of Networks,” so it only makes sense that Steve Forbes would refer to his own Rolodex to add a little clout to the magazine’s 90th anniversary issue. On the topic of lifestyle networks, Forbes asked his longtime friend, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, to write a story, and evidently, Murdoch didn’t give it a second thought. “This is a one-off thing,” said a News Corp. spokesman. “It’s a favor to Steve Forbes.” In his magazine debut, Murdoch — who the magazine titles “special contributor” — penned almost 600 words on “Mixed Media.” He wrote: “Those of us in so-called ‘old media’ have also learned the hard way what this new meaning of networking spells for our businesses. Media companies don’t control the conversation anymore, at least not to the extent that we once did.” His commentary doesn’t reveal many new ideas on the subject, but it does have art featuring “American Idol” (a Fox show) and a copy of the New York Post. Tom Post, deputy managing editor of Forbes, said “networks” was chosen as the issue’s theme because “networks are ubiquitous in today’s world, bringing people together in areas of commerce, private interests, politics, innovation and community-building.” In 2004, Murdoch was honored as the first recipient of the B.C. Forbes Award, named after the family’s patriarch, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to the U.S. by an immigrant. — A.W.
PROUD PARENTS: Cookie will honor 11 mothers who extend their good work beyond the confines of their family with its first-ever Smart Cookie Awards, which include a package in its upcoming May/June issue and a party Monday at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum. Honorees Mariska Hargitay, Sharon Stone and Marcia Gay Harden were recognized alongside Leigh Blake, founder and president of Keep a Child Alive, and Maria Otero, president and chief executive officer of ACCION International, an organization that provides small loans to women starting their own businesses. “We decided to include moms you never heard of as well as celebrating celebrity moms,” said editor in chief Pilar Guzman. Readers also chose an everyday-mom honoree — Heidi Breeze-Harris, co-founder and executive director of One by One, an organization that helps victims of obstetric fistula. Meanwhile, Cookie will increase its frequency to 10 times in 2008 from eight this year. — S.D.S