Archive for the ‘Cablevision Systems Corp.’ Category

QVC Jewelry Queen Joan Rivers Gives Us A Peek Behind Her Comedy Mask In Film ‘A Piece of Work’

July 4, 2010

Joan dishes in her new documentary

This weekend we went to see “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” during a matinee in Montclair, N.J., at the Clairidge Theater (owned by Jimmy Dolan’s Cablevision). It was just us and one other person the the audience.

Of course, as The Homeshoppingista, we’d hoped that maybe the movie would show Rivers in her role as a very successful jewelry vendor on QVC. Well ladies, if you’re looking for any insidery stuff on the home shopping end, you’re out of luck.

There are a couple of references to Rivers having a QVC stop on her schedule, and it looked like she was wearing her QVC jewelry, but that was about it. She had on a gold disc necklace on a leather cord in one scene of the documentary that had QVC written all over it.

The movie included Rivers’ triuimphant win on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Call us naive but we were surprised that Rivers was so blue, profane, in her stand-up routine. Her joke about her darling daughter Melissa being offered $400,000 to appear topless on the cover of “Playboy” really did kind of shock us.

We did laugh out loud at her joke about how wearing a tampon makes Victoria Beckham look fat.

We like Rivers, so we had no ax to grind coming into the theater. We think she came out appearing flawed, like every human being, but also likable and vulnerable in the movie.

Since Rivers seems so thick-skinned, it’s fascinating to hear her talk about being worried about reviews of her acting and her dread of the nasty plastic-surgery jokes that will be lobbed at her during her “Comedy Central” roast. Rivers, looking truly afraid, tells Kathy Griffin, who hosted the Comedy Central Roast, essentially says that although she hates the idea of doing the roast, “It’s a lot of money.”

Again, here’s how stupid we are: We didn’t know Comedy Central pays the people that are skewered on their “roasts.” We thought it was supposed to be an honor, and the roastees would not be paid.

Rivers also talked about her fear of being seen without makeup. We can surely sympathize.

“It’s very scary wheh you see yourself without any makeup,” Rivers said, and that’s how we feel about being seen sans lipgloss and mascara.

Yet the movie’s opening scene is a closeup of Rivers getting her makeup done, so we pretty much see her bare-faced. We guess she faced that fear head-on for the movie.

Rivers also rehashes the story about how her mentor, Johnny Carson, never spoke to her again after she told him she was going to do a late-night show for Fox.

Maybe if she had given him a heads-up BEFORE she took the gig he would have been more understanding, and not felt bushwhacked. Those Scorpios, like Carson, don’t like to feel betrayed. Her Fox show, produced by her husband Edgar, was a disaster. Shortly after the shows demise, Edgar committed suicide.

The doc’s takeaway is that Rivers is a workaholic, isolated and lonely. Yet she is often in the Big Apple tabloids, making the scene with the hoity-toity Park Avenue social crowd. You don’t see any of that in the film. We wish some of it had been.

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Happy Anniversary: We Got Laid Off Exactly One Year Ago, Jan. 26, And Have Lived To Talk About The Joys Of Being Pink-Slipped

January 27, 2010

This is the only blog I’ll ever write in the first person here. I debated all day whether to write it, but I must.

Last January was the biggest month for layoffs last year, I’ve read. And I, and several close colleagues, were among those who were pink-slipped. The three boxes, with 16 years of memories, that I packed up that week are still sitting near the door inside my condo. Reed Business Information, my ex-employer, paid for the shipping.

Being laid off has its rewards, like getting free margaritas and meeting Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora

I guess there are a lot of people who are a lot more resilient than I am, but I took it hard. It’s tough when you’ve been getting in work by 7:15 a.m., and leaving at 6 p.m. or later, working on weekends, working on vacations, to screech down to zero miles an hour.

For several months, I could not eat. For several months, I could not sleep. For several months, I literally could not smile. For several months, I could not laugh. For several months, I could not listen to music. For several months, I did not have one minute of happiness. No exaggeration.

I saw “Up In The Air” recently — which features folk who were laid off in real life in the movie as actors — expressing their anger at being fired. I almost wish I had thrown everything off the table like some of those people, instead of acting “professional.” But what goes around comes around. The HR guy who gave me my bad news was himself laid off recently.

You know those cliches you hear about, about finding out who your real friends are? Those cliches are true. You don’t hear a peep from your good “friends” at work. The PR people who loved you at upfront parties don’t return your phone calls. The cable network presidents who always seemed to enjoy chatting with you when you were employed are curt during phone calls. Some idiot asked one of my laid-off compadres how they where enjoying their “vacation.”

People — and I’ve interviewed them in my new incarnation — have survived real challenges and tragedies, like cancer or losing a loved one. What about the people in Haiti? So boo-hoo for me being upset about not having a job. Big deal. Don’t whine. But like I said, it hit me hard. At one point, I even feared I could never write a story again.

New Jersey became the new Hollywood for reality TV, and I wrote about the trend and the shows, like Jersey Shore

But my family and true friends pulled me through, and this is my thank-you note to them. You guys know who you are, in Parsippany, Whippany, Staten Island, Wyckoff and Westfield, and Vermont.

And the tide turned for me.

When I filed my first major story after my layoff, for a startup Web site, the editor said it was the cleanest story he ever read.

A very kind PR executive at a local hospital chain gave me a break, and let me do volunteer work for her department. Several of my press releases got placement, in papers including The Star-Ledger. I had the honor of interviewing people who wept as they told me how the hospital had saved their lives. I loved writing their stories.

Bon Jovi released a new album, and Showtime aired a documentary on them. I got to go a screening, where they served margaritas (my favorite), and I later interviewed the band. It became another story that generated a lot of Web traffic.

All of a sudden New Jersey, of all places, became a mecca for reality TV shows like “Jersey Shore.” And I was able to write stories about the shows, and about the trend. They were among the Web site’s Top-10 viewed stories.

Who wouldn't want to write about Kurt Sutter, creator and showrunner of FX's Sons of Anarchy?

I got back on the cable-network PR radar, and was able to interview and write about Kurt Sutter, creator of one of my favorite shows, FX “Sons of Anarchy.” Hey, he’s from Jersey.

I realized I still had my reporting chops when a got nice exclusive for TVNewscheck. It felt great.

Cablevision, with 900,000 customers in New Jersey, and Food Network got in a fight. Another story for me.

I posted a note on my bulletin board shortly after I was pink-slipped. It’s a quote from Western author Louis L’Amour: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.”

It turned out to be true. Without my layoff, I would never have been able to tell the tales of those who were saved by the hospital, and I would not have met the great women in the PR department there.

I would not have sat down and eaten in a soup kitchen, as I did as part of my research for a series on the Salvation Army. The people eating there, some homeless, were so kind. Seeing me as a newcomer, and not knowing I was a reporter, one came over and welcomed me.

I launched my home shopping blog when Suzanne Somers moved from HSN to ShopNBC

I wouldn’t have had the nerve to start a blog, on home shopping, timed to coincide with Suzanne Somers’ move to ShopNBC from HSN, a seismic shift in that little world. In only five months, people in the home-shopping industry tell me Homeshoppingista is now a must-read for them.

I have had to think long and hard about what I want to do.

On “Southland” — right now airing on my TV, and on TNT — one character says, “You’re a cop because you don’t know how not to be one.”

I’m a writer because I don’t know how not to be one.

Samsung Will Launch HSN Shop by Remote App On Its Internet@TV – Content Service

January 8, 2010

HSN will offer its HSN Shop by Remote app on select 2010 Samsung HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Home Theater Systems through the upgraded Internet@TV – Content Service, officials said Friday.

The HSN Shop by Remote app will allow viewers to access live streaming HSN video and make purchases using their remote controls.

“We think TV is more than just for viewing your favorite programs. We’re committed to enriching in-home entertainment, and transforming television viewing into an interactive experience,” John Revie, senior vice president of Visual Display Marketing for Samsung Electronics America, said in a prepared statement. “Together with HSN, we’re excited to offer consumers the ability to interact with the HSN application thru their TV remote.”

Samsung’s upgraded Internet@TV feature includes Samsung Apps, providing consumers with an expanded, easy to navigate selection of content and applications from services that span video, information, lifestyle, games, and sports.

The HSN app will be included in the first group of TV apps that will be available on Samsung Apps this spring free of charge to consumers. Premium apps will be available for purchase via Samsung Apps’ transactional interface this summer.

“As the original TV retailer, HSN has been at the forefront of interactive television and transactional innovation for decades. This latest partnership with Samsung will continue our tradition of developing new ways to engage consumers by allowing us to reach an audience that does not otherwise have access to our Shop By Remote service,” John McDevitt, HSN’s vice president of Advanced Services, said in a prepared statement.

Samsung viewers will require a broadband connection to access Internet@TV including the HSN app. The full-screen app will appear with the following categories listed for browsing:

Current On Air Item – Product detail of the item currently airing live on HSN.

Today’s Special – Available at an exclusive special retail price for the day.

Deal of the Day – A must-have item that has never been discounted before will be unveiled daily at a special rate.

Last 15 Items Aired – Customers can go back and browse a list of the last 15 products on air.

Cablevision Systems Corp. and Comcast have rolled HSN By Remote on theis systems.

Yesterday Comcast, Today Verizon’s FiOS TV Has Launched HSN Shop By Remote; Telco To Offer ‘Must-Have’ Exclusive ‘Deal Of The Day’

December 3, 2009

FiOS TV customers will be the next to get HSN Shop By Remote, Verizon said Thursday.

It will be made possible by Verizon’s latest addition to its Widget Bazaar applications marketplace – the HSN Shop By Remote Widget.

“We’re excited about teaming with HSN to offer FiOS TV customers another unique interactive experience that combines HSN’s shopping technology with the unmatched speed and intelligence of our advanced all-fiber-optic network, adding an entirely new dimension to shopping on FiOS TV,” Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon, said in a prepared statement.

The news came a day after Comcast officially announced what we had reported weeks ago, that the nation’s largest cable operator had rolled out HSN Shop By Remote to 8 million homes and was taking it national. Cablevision Systems Corp. was the first to offer HSN By Remote to subscribers.

“We’ve made it quick, easy and safe to order merchandise from HSN with just a few clicks of your remote control,” Strickland said. “See it, click it, own it. It’s that easy.”

HSN got its two cents in, too.

“HSN has always been at the forefront of innovation, and we are excited to be partnering with a pioneering leader like Verizon,” Peter Ruben, HSN’s executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, said in a prepared statement. “Thanks to our partnership with Verizon, we will offer our customers a revolutionary widget that will provide them with new ways to shop with us at home.”

The free HSN Shop By Remote Widget is available starting today, Thursday, in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Texas, and in all other FiOS TV markets by Dec. 7.

Customers must have an HSN online account. If they do not have one, they can create an account by logging on to HSN.com or by calling HSN at 1-800-284-5757. Once registered, customers can browse and purchase as many items as they want, whenever they want.

The HSN Shop By Remote Widget is located within FiOS TV’s Widget Bazaar applications marketplace. The full-screen widget appears with the following categories listed for browsing:

— Current On Air Item – Product detail of the item currently airing live
on HSN.

— Today’s Special – Available at an exclusive special retail price for the
day.

— Verizon FiOS Deal of the Day – Exclusive to FiOS TV customers, a
must-have item that has never been discounted before will be unveiled
daily at a special rate.

— Last 15 Items Aired – Customers can go back and browse a list of the
last 15 products on air.

Customers simply press the “C” button on the remote control to begin watching HSN on the right-hand side of the television screen; additional product detail from the categories above appears on the left-hand side of the screen.

To purchase an item, customers click on the “B” button on the remote and log in using the phone number and ZIP code associated with the customers’ HSN online account.

Once an order is finalized, a nine-digit confirmation number appears on the television screen, and customers can use it to track their shipment on HSN.com.

Are We Getting HSN Shop By Remote? We Have To Call Comcast, Our Cable Provider

November 12, 2009

HSN’s Shop by Remote is the only service of its kind in the United States, according to HSN CEO Mindy Grossman. And it’s expanding its distribution, which we’re sure will thrill husbands across the nation.

It’s obvious how it works: You can order HSN goods by pushing buttons on your remote in some cable systems. No need to get up and call on the phone or order on your computer.

Our parents have Shop By Remote, and they are Cablevision Systems’ customers. Our dad was not so happy when this service was added, but our mom sure was.

During a third-quarter conference call Thusday, Grossman said that the service will be rolled out in more cable systems.

”Distribution for this HSN interactive shopping service continued to grow, with the new launch to more than 7 million Comcast subscribers and millions more to be rolled out in the coming year,” she said.

We’re Comcast customers, but we don’t think we have HSN Shop by Remote yet. What’s up with that?