Archive for the ‘Callie Northagen’ Category

‘The Insider’ Goes Inside HSN, But Not Too Far

October 20, 2010

Lara Spencer chatted up Wolfgang Puck at HSN's studios

Yippee, as we’ve noted before, the traditional media has finally figured out that home shopping is not still about selling can openers and cubic zirconia anymore. Jeez, even Oprah Winfrey shops on HSN! (We’ll explain later.)

CNN woke up and made it official when it did a segment on QVC’s large role in Fashion Week in Manhattan this year. And this week “The Insider” sent the vapid and extremely annoying Lara Spencer down to HSN’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Fla., to do a story on how celebrities are flocking to sell goods on home shopping networks.

The story was a couple of minutes, which for “The Insider” is like an investigative report, even though it stated the obvious to anyone who knows the home shopping industry. But it was a great plug for HSN, that’s for sure.

The segment showed a clip of Liza Minnelli’s disastrous appearance, and there were also interviews with celebrity chef and pot peddler Wolfgang Puck, as well as Bill Brand, HSN’s executive vice president of programming, marketing and business development.

The segment said that HSN started in 1977 on AM radio selling electronic can openers. While there was once a “stigma” to appear on HSN, now celebs are calling the TV network to get on, we’re told.

“This world had changed and it’s been focused on finding those personalities that are popular, that are interesting but also very credible and authentic and are experts in their field,” Brand said to Spencer.

Spencer noted that Puck would be on the air for 10 hours, “not a single minute of it with a teleprompter,” the day she was in Florida shooting her segment.

“Welcome to a very tasty HSN,” Puck told Spencer.

She noted that as Puck was selling his cookware, HSN producers were watching how many people were calling in and buying, and then they told Puck through his earpiece whether to keep talking or move on.

There was also a clip of Sean “Diddy” Combs from his appearance on the home shopping network to sell his fragrance.

“I made it,” Combs said. “I’m on HSN, Ma.”

His fragrance, “I Am King,” sold out in 14 minutes, product that was meant to last for a two-hour show.

Brand also talked about singer Mary J. Blige debuting her new perfume exclusively on HSN. “That was really a first for the business,” he said.

“The Insider” also showed Oprah Winfrey calling in while Blige was on the air on HSN.

“I am supporting her and waiting on my shower gel,” Winfrey told Blige and HSN host Callie Northagen.

“You even have Oprah shopping on HSN, so it’s no surprise that HSN brings in $2 billion a year in revenue,” somebody whose name we didn’t catch said.

As for Spencer, she told us “it is not your grandmother’s HSN.”

No sh-t.

Even CEO Mindy Grossman, Along With Criss Angel, Is Live In Vegas For HSN’s 33rd Birthday

August 15, 2010

Criss Angel's HSN Magic Kit

We’ll give credit where credit is due. HSN is really wowing us, first with its “Eat, Pray, Love” event last weekend (more on that later) and this weekend with its live event from Vegas, baby.

We’re watching it now, and illusionist Criss Angel is doing his thing, performing and hawking a magic kit with Callie Northagen.

HSN has transported a host of its hosts — Colleen Lopez, Bill Green, Chris Scanlon, etc. — to Sin City, and its celebrity vendors, like Wolfgang Puck, Jennifer Flavin Stallone to do shows in front of a studio audience. There were 25 celebs doing presentations, and the vibe was fun.

HSN also set up booths in Vegas with its jewelry, apparel, etc. The home shopping network at about 8 p.m. went to a shot of Jean Queen Diane Gilman in her booth, where we saw HSN CEO Mindy Grossman, live and in the flesh.

Lopez gave a shout-out to Grossman as a woman of style (that should ensure a raise, Colleen).

We know that QVC often goes on location, to Italy and Arizona, for example. But HSN’s Vegas event, with sets it built special for the gala and interacting with a live audience, was really creative programming for a home shopping network.

Martha Stewart’s HSN Debut Is A Lot Less Memorable Than Liza Minnelli’s: It’s A Good Thing

July 19, 2010

HSN promoted Martha Stewart’s debut on the home shopping network with a lot of fanfare, as it did for Liza Minnelli’s debut.

Luckily for HSN, Martha did a lot better than Liza, who was barely coherent while describing her clothing and jewelry line.

Stewart, clad in an aqua shirt, has HSN’s Today’s Special Monday, a set of paper punches at $40. Years ago Stewart was on QVC, and we saw her several times. She was rather rude and unpleasant to host Kathy Levine.

In contrast, she was very warm and charming with HSN host Callie Northagen at midnight about her crafting products. She ouynthusiastically demonstrated her punches, which have several patents pending.

“I’m having so much fun here,” Stewart told Northagen.

What you can make with the TS

Our favorite quote from fawning Northagen to Stewart: “Martha, you made the glue gun what it is today.” Honey, it ain’t a cure for cancer!

And our favorite Stewart quote: “I was just going to bedazzle my butterfly.” OK, whatever floats your boat.

We guess crafters love Stewart’s kits, which you can use to make cards, frames, package decorations, etc. Since you would more likely see us try to fly to the moon than sit down and do a homemade card, it was hard for us to be enthusiastic about Stewart’s punches, glitter and paper. It’s not our thing. But the products looked good.

We were also introduced to Alex Perruzzi, who Stewart described as “our crafty guru.” He was a pleasant enough young man. We will bet dollars to donuts that following Stewart’s premiere appearances, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Perruzzi on HSN than we will of Stewart.

As Stewart admired one of the cards made with her punches, she told Perruzzi she wanted that card for her birthday, which is coming up. We know all about that Martha: Our niece Sydney has the same birthday as you, Aug. 3.

In her second hour, Stewart talked up her Cricit Cake Martha Stewart edition, which sells for $360.

So Stewart, who is from a town we spent a miserable decade in — Nutley, N.J. — did pretty well whille we were watching.

Was Watching Designer Waynescot Lukas On HSN Like Watching Porn? Anyway, He’s Got A New Gig With QVC In Europe

July 7, 2010

Waynescot Lukas, of Jersey, is coming to QVC in Europe

We’ve loved Waynescot Lukas, a celebrity stylist and fashion designer, ever since we first saw him selling his Lukastyle clothing line on HSN. Then he went to ShopNBC. And now he’s landed at QVC — on its European home shopping networks.

Lukas — whose celebrity clients have included Janet Jackson (a fellow Taurus like us), Tina Turner, Meryl Streep and Christie Brinkley — is like no vendor we have ever seen on a home shopping channel.

In fact, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman seems to agree with us. During a recent radio interview, Lukas said Grossman once told him, “Watching you is like watching porn. I can’t turn it off….I can’t turn the channel.”

For the record, HSN denies that Grossman ever made that remark to Lukas.

What’s so unique about Lukas? Well, he’s good-looking and has the best head of hair we’ve ever seen on anyone.

He is also way out of the closet, and made no attempt to hide his sexual preference while appearing in HSN. He’d make numerous references to being gay during his presentations, which were filled with double entendres. We often wondered how he got away with what he was saying, since there is a time delay and HSN could have edited his comments.

Unlike well-behaved home shopping vendors, Lukas would jump around and run up to the HSN models, re-arranging their clothes, making funny asides and doing things you can safely say you don’t typically see on a home shopping network.

“One day we were licking feet,” Lukas said on the radio. “Then we were kissing toes.”

We never saw any of that, but we guess Mindy did.

Not everyone cottoned to Lukas’s on-air antics, but he has a response for them.

“”He runs around the set, he screams,'” Lukas said, quoting his critics during his radio interview. “I’m just trying to make some entertaining television. It’s a pair of pants, lady.”

Lukas raved about HSN host Colleen Lopez

Lukas certainly kept HSN hosts like Colleen Lopez on their toes (we don’t know if he ever kissed those). She’d often crack up at his remarks.

Lukas also endeared himself to us because he would talk on-air about his mom back in New Jersey. And if you read this blog, you know that being from Jersey automatically makes you family in our book.

Over time, Lukas was one of several vendors who switched from HSN to ShopNBC. But it was pretty much obvious from the start that he was not happy there.

Lukas left ShopNBC, and we’ve missed him on the airwaves. But we’ve kept up with him on Facebook.

He recently posted his interview, the one we mentioned before, with Kim Tudor. She has a radio show called “Tudor Talk” on 95.9 FM Seaview Radio in Palm Beach, Fla.

Radio host and Lukas friend Kim Tudor

During his chat with Tudor, Lukas said he will be launching a line on QVC in Great Britain in the fall, likely in October, with three visits planned. QVC’s new international channel, QVC Italy, wants his Lukastyle line for its launch. And QVC Australia and QVC Germany may be Lukas’s next venues.

That will be enough travel for Lukas. “That’s a lot of flying to sell a pant, to sell a schmatta,” he said.

There’s is also apparently a chance Lukas will be on QVC in the U.S. next year.

During his radio interview, Lukas had high praise for HSN hosts Lopez and Callie Northagen, describing them as “great” and honest with HSN customers.

“I worked with some of the best shopping hosts,” he said.

Lukastyle items can still be purchased on clearance on ShopNBC’s website, as well as some boutiques in Jersey, including What To Wear in Manasquan.

Clinton Kelly first had a date with, and then succeeded, Lukas as co-host of What Not To Wear

In his interview with Tudor Lukas also dishes on something we had no inkling about: That he was one of the original co-hosts, along with Tracy London, of TLC’s popular “What Not To Wear.”

Lukas talks about how he was planning to leave TLC and write a book, possibly with then-magazine writer Clinton Kelly. He and Kelly even went out on a date.

But two days after their date, Lukas learned that Kelly — behind his back — had finagled and was going to succeed him as the new co-host of “What Not To Wear.”

But in the end it was all good, because Lukas said he already wanted to leave the reality show.

“It really was about money,” Lukas said of his exit.

Shortly thereafter, Lukas went on to tour with Justin Timberlake, and made lots of greenbacks doing it.

HSN Has Something Cooking With ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ It Just Won’t Say What

June 1, 2010

HSN host Callie Northagen let the proverbial cat out of the bag last weekend about some plans that the home shopping network has regarding “Eat, Pray, Love,” the bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Northagen was with Joy Mangano, who gets blonder and blonder each time we see her, discussing some bedding that the in-house inventor had created. Mangano mentioned that she loved to curl up in her bed and read, and Northagen agreed.

The host said that she was currently reading “Eat, Pray, Love,”  blurting out, “We ( HSN) have a big event coming up” regarding “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Then Northagen, looking a bit sheepish, added, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say that.”

Probably not, Callie, but we’re glad you did.

Northagen mentioned a date, we believe it was August. The “Eat, Pray, Love” movie, obviously based on the book, will be released Aug. 13. It stars Julia Roberts playing Gilbert, with Penelope Cruz’s babe, Javier Bardem, as Roberts’ love interest.  

It seems likely that HSN’s “event” will be tied to the film’s release.

We contacted HSN’s PR department Tuesday to find out what specifically is going on with “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Here is the illuminating response we got back.

“We have new announcements and events all the time so stay tuned,” HSN said in an e-mail.

Thanks guys.

We have a special place in our heart for “Eat, Pray, Love” (we can’t figure out if it takes commas or not), because we read it the last time we were on vacation (pre-layoff) in Arizona, which was in October 2008.

Former ‘American Idol’ Judge Paula Abdul Gets Teary Over Fan Call On HSN

December 14, 2009

“American Idol” alum Paula Abdul got choked up and teary Sunday night during her appearance on HSN to sell her “Forever Your Girl” jewelry line.

The petite singer’s fans were calling in to her in force, offering testimonials about her star-themed jewelry. But many of the women went on to laud Abdul for being such as inspiration to them.

We heard at least a half dozen women tell Abdul “I love you.” Who knew she had such rabid fans.

The caller that choked up Abdul was Melissa, who was buying the singer’s jewelry to save for her 2-year-old granddaughter. Melissa said she used to tune in to “American Idol” to see what jewelry Abdul was wearing from her HSN line.

“I won’t watch ‘Idol’ anymore without you,” Melissa said during her call. “Paula, you and eveything you do highlights our life. We can hear your voice and you put a smile on our face because you’re always so happy and wonderful.”

HSN host Callie Northagen said that the call choked her up, and she reached over to Abdul, who looked emotional as well. The camera then stayed on Northhagen, and there was a break for a promo.

When the show resumed, Abdul said, “During the break, I was in tears.” She had to fix up her eye makeup.

Here’s the video of Abdul and Melissa’s call.

HSN Adds Some Flava: Rapper-Entrepreneur Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Premieres His Fragrances On The Home Shopping Network

December 1, 2009

Sean “Diddy” Combs made his debut on HSN Monday, as did his fragrance line.

His motto seemed to be that he likes his grandfather, but he doesn’t want to smell like him. Hence the fragrances (but we hope grandpa wasn’t watching).

Combs’ products were such a hit during his first show at 11 p.m. that they all sold out. So HSN had to cancel his second scheduled show at 1 a.m., since there was no merchandise left to sell.

For Combs’ debut HSN CEO Mindy Grossman opened the company wallet and had a new set built, which looked like a sophisticated penthouse, and even had the Manhattan skyline in the background. Puff Daddy was laid back and modest, rather charming for a mogul with a multi-million dollar empire in music, fashion, TV, movies and fragrances.

“It’s a great way to reach people all over the world…I made it on HSN mom,” Combs said during his home shopping debut, where he fielded many calls from overwrought fans. “I’m blessed to be here.”

More than any of the other shopping networks, HSN has courted the African-American market, by bringing vendors in such as the hair-care line Carol’s Daughter, David Bowie’s wife Iman, and now Combs.

Talking about his award-winning men’s fragrance, I Am King, Combs said, “This is not a celebrity fragrance.”

The rapper said he helped design the cologne, in partnership with Estee Lauder. It has won the FiFi Award, which Combs called “the Oscars” of the perfume industry.

“I have a very sensitive nose,” said Combs, who described I Am King as being “a clean scent.”

He said, “I don’t like things that are overbearing.”

The name I Am King was not a boast, according to Combs, but a positive affirmation for everyone.

“I was talking about the king in all of us,” Combs said. “If we as men act as kings, we will respect our women as queens.”

Those are great sentiments, but we can’t help but note that Combs has a somewhat checkered past, which includes an arrest on a weapons charge — when he was with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez — following a nightclub shooting in Manhattan. Scorpios like Combs often have a dark side.

We remember tabloid stories about an upset Lopez being dragged down to the police station with Combs the night he was arrested. Doesn’t sound very queenly. Well, that was almost 10 years ago. Leopards can change their spots.

Host Callie Northagen did the show. She seems to be HSN’s ace for interviewing high-profile talent, including Madonna and singer Natalie Cole.

HSN was also selling the men’s and women’s fragrance lines Sean John Unforgivable. The kits and gift sets ranged in price from $57 to $78. There was also a fleece robe for $60.

Combs has a vast empire, and even produced and was a judge for the MTV show “Making the Band.”

He also claimed he was a fan of the No. 2 home shopping channel.

“Sometimes when you watch HSN, you get stuck there for hours,” Combs said.

We know what you mean, Diddy.

Bring Out The Sunday ‘Gravy,’ As We Say In Jersey: HSN Starts The Product Placements With Roasted Olives And Barilla Pasta

November 7, 2009

We saw our first product placement Friday night at HSN, a brief cooking segment sponsored by Lindsay Olives.

Host Callie Northagen was shown in a kitchen fixing up a batch of roasted Lindsay olives, supposedly a holiday treat (not in the Moss household). It was a little jarring to see the segment at 7 p.m., with a big graphic saying that the mini-recipe demonstration was sponsored by Lindsay Olives.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that HSN was going to start doing product placements, accepting sponsorships, citing a deal with Barilla pasta. We don’t remember any mention of the olives, but we are getting old and feeble.

For a small fee, we see that Barilla is now “The choice of Italy, and now the choice of HSN.”

The home shopping network is challenging viewers to take the “That’s Whole Grain?” taste challenge. If you try but don’t like the healthy whole grain stuff, Barilla will send you a free box of your favorite Barilla pasta.

The Journal story sparked a lot of snarky comments about HSN from media watchers like Gawker, which has made its name doing especially nasty coverage of just about everyone, aimed at the circle-jerk of journalists that infest Manhattan.

Wow, we sure sound cranky. We actually do have reporter friends in the city, we swear. But come on guys, we media folk do an awful lot of navel gazing.

Live And Onstage Right Now: Singer Natalie Cole On HSN

October 18, 2009

It’s Saturday night, and we’re watching and listening to a live concert by singer Natalie Cole — on HSN.

Welcome to the ramping up of one of the newest trends on home shopping networks, namely having artists perform live and then selling their latest CDs. In Cole’s case, she has done an exclusive two CD-Holiday Gift Set for HSN, “Still Unforgettable” and “Merry Christmas Darling.”

HSN has a live audience down in its Florida studios for Cole, who is wearing a sparkly silver top and white pants. HSN has the room set up like a nightclub, with lots of  tables and Cole on a stage. The set did look a little cheesey, we admit, but we give HSN “A” for effort. And Cole was a class act all the way.

“All I want to do is get my music out,” said Cole, who was also interviewed by host Callie Northagen. 

The singer, who underwent a kidney transplant six months ago, also answered questions from the studio audience.

“What you bought from HSN lately?” one woman asked.

Cole ‘fessed up and said she had ordered some items before she went on the air, including some of Jennifer Stallone’s skincare products and Joy Mangano’s steamer. You go girl!

“It’s addictive,” Cole said.

The price on Cole’s CD set is $19.90, and HSN brought in 15,000 of them.

Most recently, QVC had Jose Feliciano on the air performing and hawking his line of guitars. Hall and Oates were also just on QVC, also doing their musical thing live and selling CDs.

What’s up with all this? Home shopping networks are programming themselves like traditional TV channels, offering entetainment and talent that will bring viewers who normally wouldn’t be caught dead watching HSN and QVC.

Northagen was gushing with praise for Cole, so much so that the singer was a little embarrassed and joked about it, saying she would pay Northagen after the show.

Cole, who is now on tour, also offered some memories of her dad, legend Nat King Cole, like her peeking from the side of the stage when he performed.

She said the favorite song she enjoyed hearing her dad sing was “Haji Baba,” which was in the movie “Alibaba and the 40 Thieves.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,216 other followers