Archive for the ‘Bobbi Ray Carter’ Category

The Wall Street Journal On HSN Honcho Mindy Grossman, Why Home Shopping Is Hot And ‘Pooh-Poohing’ Designers

November 11, 2010

Did you realize it’s “The Golden Age of TV Shopping”?

We know, we’ve been telling you that for more than a year now, but The Wall Street Journal made it official Thursday, with a big feature with that “Golden Age” headline.

It looks like Journal reporter Elizabeth Holmes actually plopped her butt onto a plane and made the trek to St. Petersburg, Fla., to find out exactly why the hell upscale designers such as Reem Acra (who is so high-end we had never heard of her), Mark Badgley and James Mischka, and Naeem Khan are now selling their wares on HSN. In the past, they were selling their duds to celebs like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

The Journal story mainly focuses on HSN and its evolution (which has some irate customers wanting to start a revolution) under the helm of CEO Mindy Grossman. But it also references the market’s dominant player, QVC, and its hip vendors such as razor-thin celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant.

Your's truly with designing team Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who are a big part of The Journal's home shopping story

As usual in one of these home-shopping-networks-are-no-longer-downscale stories, we have the usual quotes from Acra and Khan (who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama) knocking electronic home — that is before they swallowed the Kool-Aid.

“I never watched it before,” Acra told The Journal, referring to HSN. “I pooh-poohed it. But now look at it. There are items I would want every single day.”

Ah, a true believer now.

Naeem Khan's $870 bag for HSN

Then the story gets to the obvious: High-end designers have gone to HSN because they can move a hell of a lot of product on it, which is pretty crucial when sales for upsale goods have crashed. Mischka told Rupert Murdoch’s financial rag that Badgley Mischka sold 18,000 units of one particular jacket on HSN. It would take a lot of couture gowns to ring up that kind of revenue. Volume, volume, volume.

We did learn a few things from The Journal, like that HSN keeps track of sales by the minutes, and uses that “intel,” as Jack Bauer would say, to guide hosts. The story says that when HSN host Bobbi Ray Carter mentioned the quality of one of Acra’s jackets, it’s sales shot up. So HSN had Ray talk in more detail about the material in the piece.

HSN chief Mindy Grossman

The article talks quite a bit about Nike veteran Grossman, who came on board to HSN in 2006 and began making it more fashion-forward by courting a host of big-name designers.

Grossman did her research, asking people about HSN, and told The Journal she got three responses, “Some who shopped, some who didn’t, some who did but they whispered that they did.””

We never whispered, Mindy! We were always loud and proud about our HSN and QVC purchases, despite being surrounded by snobby Manhattanites (most of whom where transplants from the Midwest).

The Journal story goes on about Grossman, saying, “The new CEO cleaned house, shedding brands that she didn’t think made sense for the network.”

We guess the “shedding” refers to the exits of vendors like Suzanne Somers, Terry Lewis, Beyonce’s mom Tina Knowles and a parade of others. The departure of Terry Lewis and her Classic Luxuries line still has some HSN shoppers calling for Grossman to be drawn and quartered.

We did get a kick out of the anecdote in the story about Mischka “falling off the stage” the first time he and his partner Badgley appeared on HSN. But unfortunately for viewers, the camera wasn’t on him when that little mishap took place.

HSN Vendors’ Six Degrees Of Separation: Jennifer’s Husband Sylvester Stallone Helps Laurie’s Spouse, Lionsgate Honcho Jon Feltheimer, Fend Off Icahn

August 18, 2010

In the HSN “family,” one vendor’s husband may have helped another vendor’s husband keep control of his company.

We’re taking about Jennifer Flavin’s husband, action movie star Sylvester Stallone, saving the bacon of Laurie Feltheimer’s husband, movie studio chief Jon Feltheimer.

Sylvester Stallone have given Lionsgate a hit with The Expendables

Flavin, as any home shopping fan knows, sells the Serious Skincare line on HSN. Laurie has an apparel and accessory line called Hot in Hollywood on HSN. Here’s the deal.

Laurie’s husband Jon, whose nickname is “Felt,” runs Lionsgate, a film and TV studio that has produced movies like the “Saw” film series, the Tyler Perry money makers, and the hot Emmy-winning TV hit drama “Mad Men.”

We interviewed Jon at Lionsgate in Santa Monica two years ago when we were working for place whose name we refuse to say, and profiled the company.

Laurie's husband Jon Feltheimer

At the Emmys that year in LA, where “Mad Men” won the award for best drama, we saw the show’s leading man Jon Hamm give Jon Feltheimer a warm embrace at the Governor’s Ball after the awards.

But that was then, when Lionsgate was the toast of the town. This is now. Lionsgate has recently had a string of dud movies. That provided an opening for corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has mounted a hostile takoever bid against Lionsgate, increasing his stake in the publicly traded company.

The battle between Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate and pesky and persistent Icahn, who has blasted Lionsgate management for producing box-office bombs this year, has been going on for months. It’s hard to keep track of it.

Laurie's Today's Special

Wall Street analysts agreed that Lionsgate needed a blockbuster film to prove that management still knows how to create a big movie. And Flavin’s husband, Stallone, provided it in “The Expendables,” a Lionsgate film.

The action flick, which also features Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke, was No. 1 at the box office this past weekend, raking in $35 million.

Stallone’s potential rescue of “Felt” and Lionsgate may wind up one of the most important feats he’s ever performed.

Laurie should take Jennifer for a nice dinner, either on the West Coast or when they’re in St. Petersburg at the same time to appear on the Southern Channel.

Anyway, Laurie had HSN’s Today’s Special Wednesday: a ruffled military-style jacket for $50.

While we’re at it, host Bobbi Ray Carter’s eyes are looking awful wide open and slanted up, unnaturally so. We know you’ll slam us for saying this, but we think she’s had some work done.

Has Liza Minnelli’s Train-Wreck Appearance On HSN Gone Viral? At The Least, It Went International

July 2, 2010

You read it here first, folks. But the media is now having a field day writing about diva Liza Minnelli’s disastrous appearance on HSN earlier this week.

All the stories include all or or part of a 5-minute YouTube video (condensed from a two-hour appearance) of Liza selling her clothing and jewely line on the home shopping channel.

Liza was not very coherent, made statements that were non sequiturs, scolded the HSN host and was just not all there.

The New York Post’s story today is headlined “Shop Dead Diva: Liza’s Kooky HSN One-Nighter.”

The Post story says that the video of Liza’s appearance had gone viral on YouTube. Well, when we saw it yesterday it had about 450 views. This morning it was at 26,500.

The only thing inaccurate about the Post story is that it described HSN host Bobbi Ray Carter as “busty.” Carter is a stick, about 80 pounds wet, and she’s not well-endowed.

At one point during Liza’s appearance poor Carter, trying to keep the show rolling and the diva engaged, said, “You have a beautiful wrist Liza.” That was just one of a flurry of overly flattering comments Carter made to Liza throughout the night.

When Carter suggested viewers might want to pile on some of Liza’s bracelets, Liza corrected her and said, “One will do.” That meant a couple of less bracelet sales for HSN right there.

The Huffington Post even wrote about Liza’s HSN debut, as did Entertainment Weekly online.

Huffington Post mocked Liza’s line about a sequined dress in her HSN: “You don’t have to sell it, it sells you.”

Entertainment Weekly said that Liza deserves her own reality show, based on her performance on HSN. Its item made fun of Liza’s comment to one of her adoring fans who called in. The woman said she considered Liza her mentor, and the star replied. “You’re my mentor, too.” Huh?

UPDATE: Our talented friend and fellow blogger Lisa Swan, whose “Subway Squawkers” Yankee-Mets baseball blog who also blogs for The Huffington Post, e-mailed us to say that even the British papers, namely The Daily Mail had picked up the Liza-HSN story.

Well, HSN certainly got a lot of press out of Liza’s appearance, that’s for sure. We don’t know if the folks down in St. Petersburg are happy about it or not.

Liza Minnelli’s Appearance On HSN Is Getting Panned, So It Wasn’t Just Us

July 1, 2010

We tried to be gentle about diva Liza Minnelli’s train-wreck-of-an-appearance on HSN Wednesday night. Others were not so kind.

Thursday we saw that The Boston Globe had written an item on Liza’s HSN appearance, and we freaked out. The headline was “A Star is Reborn.” Did The Globe actually think Liza did a good job?

No, it was sarcasm, my dears.

That blurb included a link to an edited five-minute YouTube video that condensed all of Liza’s worse moments, and all of HSN Bobbi Ray Carter’s fawning over her, as they jointly hawked her clothing and apparel line, which was done exclusively for the home shopping network.

We guess we can’t blame Carter. She was in a tough spot trying to make Liza look OK.

Diva Liza Minnelli Is Making A Shaky Appearance On HSN For Its Birthday Celebration Kickoff

July 1, 2010

Liza Minnelli on HSN

We tuned in to see icon Liza Minnelli’s two-hour segment on HSN about five minutes after it started, and it just does not seem like this talented lady is up to snuff.

Maybe we’re crazy, but to us Liza seems to be slurring her words right now, and she does not sound sharp the way she did in a promo for the debut of her HSN Liza Collection.

And Liza is slumped down in her chair across from host Bobbi Ray Carter. She hasn’t faced the camera head-on in the first half-hour that we have seen so far.

We don’t like the HSN set, either. It’s a bit cheesy, with a fake-looking scene of Manhattan’s skyline. There is also a piano on the set.

Liza hasn’t stumbled and not been very articulate about describing her sequined and velvet fashions, which are actually much prettier than they looked online.

We’re trying to find a cogent quote from Liza. When Carter mentioned that Minnelli’s father had been a costume designer, so she grew with fashion, Liza said, “I guess it’s in my blood.”

She later said, “Halston was my hero.”

Nonetheless, Liza’s fans are calling in in force. They certainly love her and are showering her in praise.

One caller said, “I love you and I loved your mother,” referring to Judy Garland.

“So do I,” Liza said in a poignant moment.

Carter keeps plugging Liza’a recent cameo in “Sex and the City 2,” a movie that was pretty much universally panned.

The first hour of Liza’s appearance featured fashion, and the next hour is fashion jewelry.

We loved her sequined tank dress, which was $99. We’ve had gotten it in the read, if we weren’t trying to go back on our budget.

Liza is helping HSN kick off its 33rd birthday, an extravangza that will feature some events from Las Vegas. HSN’s vendors/talent will be out in force to help HSN celebrate during this Fourth of July weekend.


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