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BY DAVID BAUDER
AP Television Writer
NEW YORK-- Investigation Discovery network Sunday offered up a "Wives With Knives" marathon during the Super Bowl.
It is a typically colorful programming choice by a young network that has grown quickly because of them.
Five years into its life, the network devoted to true crime and mystery stories has attracted new fans so rapidly that its chief executive, Henry Schleiff, boldly predicts that it will be the top-rated cable TV network within three or four years.
The five "Wives With Knives" episodes told stories of five women who stabbed their husbands or boyfriends, sometimes killing them. The women were interviewed by criminologist Casey Jordan.
"We thought we could have fun with this marathon of 'Wives With Knives' that intentionally, perhaps, tries to cut the men out of the picture," Schleiff said, as his publicist groaned in the background.
"Wait! It gets worse. It goes directly to our core audience of females because, as that audience understands, the quickest way to a man's heart is through his chest."
Bad taste, perhaps? "We're having fun with it," Schleiff said. "I think our audience will, too."
Judging by the titles of ID's programs, the free-wheeling meetings where titles are proposed would make a fascinating program itself. Schleiff claims credit--or blame--for "Wives With Knives."
There's also "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" on people who discover ugly secrets about their spouses, soon to have a spinoff. "Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets" has murder stories told in the first person.
"Happily Never After" is about people who meet untimely demises around their wedding days. There's "Blood, Lies & Alibis," "Blood Relatives," "Date From Hell" and "Deadly Women, Fatal Encounters."
Tia Carerre is host of ID's Valentine's Day special, "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."
ID's audience is 61 percent women, perhaps counterintuitive given its programming. But many women are big fans of mystery and suspense novels, Schleiff said.
Investigation Discovery began life five years ago, after parent Discovery Communications bought the stake of the then-Discovery Times network that it shared with The New York Times. That network averaged some 80,000 viewers at any point during the day, according to the Nielsen company. ID averaged 669,000 viewers in January, Nielsen said.
The colorful programming gets attention, but there's a serious side on programs like the upcoming "March to Justice" documentary, about the early days of the civil rights movement.
With its female, primarily older audience, Investigation Discovery has done a good job reaching a group that watches TV heavily, said Brad Adgate, an analyst for Horizon Media.