Archive for the ‘Natalie Cole’ Category

ShopNBC Joins Home-Shopping Musical Bandwagon With Live Concert By Heart

August 26, 2010

Heart, one of our favs, will perform live on ShopNBC this Sunday at 2 p.m. as the group introduces its first new studio album in six years, “Red Velvet Car,” on the network.

The album, which will be officially released Aug. 31 through Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings, will be available exclusively to ShopNBC viewers during the band’s acoustic performance.

We heart Heart

ShopNBC is the third home shopping networks, behind QVC and HSN, to host live concerts of popular artists and sell their new albums. It’s a way for these channels to draw in viewers who ordinarily wouldn’t be caught dead watching QVC or HSN.

QVC recently had Sheryl Crow on for a great concert, and HSN has had Natalie Cole.

During the hour long pre-release show titled “Heart Live!” on ShopNBC, Ann and Nancy Wilson will perform acoustic renditions of songs off their new album as well as a selection of their greatest hits in front of a live in-studio audience.

Included with the pre-release of Heart’s new album, “Red Velvet Car,” will be a 5-track greatest hits live album, exclusive to ShopNBC, and a vintage Heart T-shirt, which until now has only been available on the Heart website and at live performances.

The entire pre-release package will be offered to ShopNBC viewers for $19.83. In addition to the live studio performance, customers may also preview clips of the new album online at ShopNBC (Search Term: Heart).

God, it’s worth it to buy this package just for the T-shirt alone!

Here’s ShopNBC’s hype on Heart, whose “What About Love” is on our all-time favorite list:

Like all Heart albums, ‘Red Velvet Car’ rocks hard, but also has a deep acoustic side. Nancy Wilson has long been known to play her acoustic guitar with rock ferocity. With this album, an abundance of resonant acoustic instruments (guitars, mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle, viola, cello, and autoharp), played by Nancy Wilson and the album’s producer, Ben Mink, are showcased in Heart’s unique style.

Nine of the album’s songs were written especially for the album, ‘Red Velvet Car.’ The album’s closer, “Sand,” is a newly recorded version of a song originally written and recorded by the Lovemongers, Ann and Nancy’s 1990’s acoustic side project.

“We are thrilled to bring internationally known music icon Heart to the ShopNBC network and provide our viewers with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience through this live performance,” ShopNBC president Bob Ayd said in a canned statement.

“As a multi-media retailer operating with a premium lifestyle brand, we are highly focused on content, commerce and community to the surprise, delight, and entertainment of our 1 million customers. Establishing a strategic relationship with Sony Music will not only help expand what customers can expect from us, but also open the door for many new and exciting opportunities within the music industry going forward.”

Here’s the hype from the record label.

“The arrival of ‘Red Velvet Car,’ the first new Heart album in six years, is cause for celebration,” said Adam Block, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. “We think there’s a great fit here and are excited for Nancy and Ann Wilson to be sharing their new songs live with their fans on this ShopNBC event.”

Ann Wilson and her younger sister, Nancy Wilson, proved that women can rock when their band Heart hit the charts in the ’70s with hits like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” “Even It Up” and “Kick It Out.”

Not only did the Wilson sisters lead the band, they wrote the songs and played the instruments, making them the first women in rock to do so. Heart continued topping the charts through the ’80s and into the ’90s with huge hits like “These Dreams,” “Alone,” “What About Love,” “If Looks Could Kill” and “Never.”

Heart sold more than 30 million records, had 21 Top 40 hits and sold out arenas worldwide.

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Is HSN Bouncing Beyonce’s Mom, Miss Tina, From The Home Shopping Network?

July 30, 2010

Tina Knowles, Beyonce's mom

It looks like HSN is discontinuing yet another clothing line, and this time the exit door is being given to Tina Knowles, mother of pop superstar Beyonce Knowles.

Mama Knowles, who used to design costumes for Destiny’s Child before Beyonce split off from that group, has been doing a clothing and accessory line for HSN called Miss Tina By Tina Knowles.

The collection included not only clothing but also jewelry, shoes and handbags.

But currently all of Miss Tina’a merchandise on HSN.com, the little of it there is left, is on clearance. The line included some clunkers, like a skirt attached to leggings. But it also had more classic pieces, especially the purses.

We asked HSN for a comment Thursday, and the network said it was getting something together for us. We still don’t have anything from them.

HSN, under new CEO Mindy Grossman, has replaced many of the channel’s veteran vendors, such as Suzanne Somers, with hipper, more upscale and notable designers, such as Badgley Mischka.

Miss Tina would be the second African-American designer to lose her line on HSN. This year Terry Lewis, a former HSN host who did a collection called Classic Luxury for her former employer, also lost her spot on the network’s roster.

Of course, HSN has ended its relationship with many Caucasian vendors, as well, but the exit of Miss Tina might not sit well with some viewers, especially black customers of the No. 2 home shopping network. We heard from fans of Lewis who were not happy about her departure.

That would self-defeating for HSN, which of all the three major electronic retailers seems to have made a real effort to use African-American vendors and court African-American customers. HSN’s black vendors include Iman, Serena Williams, Carol’s Daughter, Sean ‘Puff Daddy” Combs, Antthony Design Originals and Natalie Cole.

And Saturday singer Mary J. Blige will do the exclusive premiere of her perfume, My Life, on HSN.

Our Hometown, Parsippany, N.J., Helped Create The Lady Gaga Monster

January 22, 2010

We’re plugging our hometown, Parsippany, N.J., today. That’s because we were surprised, and pleased, to learn that the suburb we grew up with has a connection to our latest obsession, Lady Gaga.

The Newark Star-Ledger Friday has a story headlined “Gaga Begins in Jersey: Pop Diva Found Her Sound — And Name — As Stefani Germanotta in Parsippany.”

Lady Gaga is the media darling, dance-music diva who has carefully crafted an image that centers on her outrageous outfits and makeup. But she can sing. We love her latest hit, “Bad Romance,” and last night must have played its video — an S&M-inspired set piece — at least 20 times. Yes, we know we’re nuts.

But how many times have you told a guy, or a girl, “I don’t want to be friends”? That one of the best lines in “Bad Romance.”

According to the Ledger, Lady Gaga (real name the aforementioned Stefani Germanotta) developed her outrageous stage persona and came up with her name when she was working with music producer Rob Fusari at a studio in Parsippany in 2006.

While they were working, Lady Gaga and Fusari would have lunch at the Chili’s on Route 46, a place we’ve gone with our parents to eat many times.

According to the Ledger story, “Lady Gaga” is a reference to the Queen song “Radio Ga Ga,” which was one of Fusari’s favorite songs. He would sing it when Germonotta came into the studio. One day Fusari sent Germonaotta a text that referred to “Radio Ga Ga,” but he claims there was an autocorrect and “Radio Ga Ga” became “Lady Ga Ga.”

Germonotta loved it, and chose it has her stage name, according to the Ledger.

And like that other Italian-American bad girl, Madonna, Lady Gaga references her Catholic background in her videos. In “Bad Romance,” for example, she makes the sign of the cross during one of her dance numbers. And she’s wearing a gemstone cross over her crotch at one point.

Parsippany is about 45 minutes away from New York City, and you likely have not heard of it. It is also the hometown of “30 Rock” actress Jane Krakowski, who used to act in the local community Barn Theater with our long-lost friend Mark Phelan.

HSN Is Almost All Serena Williams, All Friday With Tennis Champ Showing Off Her Signature Statement Collection

December 10, 2009

Tennis champ Serena Williams will be on HSN Friday nearly 24/7, kicking off at midnight with the network’s Today’s Special.

Williams will be on throughout the entire day with her Signature Statement collection, which includes apparel, jewelry, handbags and accessories.

We saw her debut earlier this year, and it mainly featured blingy pave jewelry, pieces that Williams was wearing on her TV appearances. Now it looks like she has a wide range of clothes for this HSN visit,

We especially like her ruched dress at $55.

And of course, we love that bling. Bring it on Serena, with a very pretty crystal flower necklace catching our eye at $80.

HSN has a wide range of African American vendors on the air, not only Williams but also Natalie Cole, Sean Combs, Iman (David Bowie’s wife), Tina Knowles — who is Beyonce’s mom — and Carol’s Daughter.

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.

Singer Jewel To Peform Live On HSN At Crack Of Dawn Monday

November 29, 2009

If you’re a fan of the singer Jewel, set your alarm for 6:30 a.m. Monday. That’s when she will be performing live, acoustic guitar, on HSN.

Why HSN has scheduled Jewel’s first performance at dawn, we have no idea. But the singer will also be on at a more reasonable hour, 1 p.m. Monday.

We believe she will be performing songs from her CD “Lullaby,” which HSN is selling for $18.

As part of its effort to draw in non-home shopping viewers, both HSN and QVC have been offering live concert performances of artists such as Natalie Cole and Jose Feliciano.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

No-Names Rachael Ray, ‘The View’ Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck Do Their Thing On QVC Friday

October 23, 2009

When we tell friends we’re doing a blog on home shopping, some stick up their noses and say they wouldn’t be interested, they don’t know anyone on QVC or HSN. Ignorance is bliss.

So they have never heard of Madonna, who has appeared on HSN to promote her children’s book, or Paula Abdul, Ellen DeGeneres, Susan Lucci, Bobbi Brown, Natalie Cole…We don’t have time to go on and list all the celebrities and big names that have home shopping lines.

Today a couple of fan favorites are being featured on QVC. TV food star Rachael Ray, who has been on QVC for a year with a cookware line, has Today’s Special Value, a stoneware set for $47 and change.

And Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” will be on Friday with her apparel for QVC’s Dialogue line.

Ray was just on, and her hair is long. Does she have extensions, or have we not just seen her in awhile? Last time we looked, she had short hair.

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.”