Manning reviews e-mailed scripts using a software
program that translates text into synthesized speech. "I send
the producers my notes about what's not realistic or a little over
the top. I try to give them that sense of authenticity that a sighted
person might not know about."
Offering observations culled from his own experience,
Manning said he has helped the writers understand how a blind man
uses a restroom and what it's like to translate sound into mental
"There are little touches I help out with,
like when the detective's wife takes his face to give him a kiss,
as opposed to just lips flying in from outer space. For a blind
person, that can be very disconcerting: You don't just throw your
lips out there at somebody and expect to hit the mark."
In "NUMB3RS" (9 p.m. Fridays on KCNC-Channel
4), the reality check for protagonist Charlie Eppes (David Krumholtz),
the math genius who helps solve crimes with his FBI agent brother
(Rob Morrow), comes mainly from California Institute Technology
math professor Gary Lorden and his colleagues. Cheryl Heuton and
Nick Falacci, the husband-and-
wife team behind the series, live just down the
street from the university's Pasadena campus.
"When we started doing our research, we decided,
why not use reality instead of just making it up?" said Heuton.
"And since we were going to use reality, we wanted to get it
right by talking to mathematicians about the initial ideas and then
adjusting them to make it more real."
Technical adviser Lorden, chairman of the school's
math department, is proud that every equation scribbled on screen
is textbook perfect. "For one episode," he said, "my
colleague Dinakar Ramakrishnan, who's a leading expert in number
theory, drew pages and pages of equations that he faxed to the producers,
which they then put up on the board. If by chance Caltech mathematicians
are watching the show and look at the board, they'll say, oh yeah,
that looks real."
Where "NUMB3RS" counts on rigorously logical
academic experts, "Medium" (9 p.m. Mondays on KUSA-Channel
9) calls on the impossible-to-quantify skill set possessed by psychic
Allison DuBois. Officially listed as the show's consultant she also
serves as role model for star Patricia Arquette. Mirroring DuBois'
life, Arquette plays 30-something medium "Allison DuBois,"
married to a rocket scientist who is trying to balance her caseload
as a ESP-endowed law student with the demands of raising three similarly
"Medium" creator and co-executive producer
Glenn Gordon Caron admits he was skeptical when Paramount Television's
then-president, Garry Hart, suggested DuBois as inspiration for
a show about a woman who solves crimes by communicating with the
"Garry called me up and said, 'Do you believe
any of this stuff? I told him, I'm probably more a cynic than anything
else. But I know a good story when I hear one."
But after meeting DuBois over lunch, Caron was intrigued.
Using her autobiographical manuscript ("Don't Kiss Them Goodbye,"
out next month on Simon & Schuster) to create the slightly fictionalized
"Medium" premise, he has continued to pepper his prescient
muse with follow-up questions.
Said DuBois, "Glen will call me, and I'll be
grocery shopping, and he'll say, 'What does it look like when you
look through the eyes of a killer?' So I have to pull my cart over
and tell him what that looks like."