Archive for the ‘The New York Times’ Category

Here’s To A Swift Recovery For HSN Vendor, Tennis Champ Serena Williams

March 5, 2011

Here’s sending good wishes and prayers to tennis champ, and HSN vendor, Serena Williams.

It turns out that Williams, who has undergone two recent foot surgeries, last month was hospitalized for a blood clot in the lungs, a pulmonary embolism.

Serena Williams

The woman that The New York Times calls “one of the greatest players in the history of her sport” will likely have to be on anti-coagulant drugs for six months, according to The Times.

On Monday had to go to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA to be treated for a hematoma, or bleeding under her skin, which was apparently caused by the aniti-coagulants she is taking.

She had been hospitalized Feb. 19 and 20 for her embolism, according to The Times.

If Williams was to be on anti-coagulants when she plays in U.S. Open this summers, she risks what would typically minor bleeding become major bleeding, especially if she is hit in the head.

Willliams has always been down-to-earth and charming during her HSN appearances, so we hope she overcomes her medical problems as quickly as possible. She does a line of jewelry and accessories for the home shopping channel.

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‘Sunday Is A Xanax Night’ For QVC Designer Isaac Mizrahi, And Boy Can We Relate

December 27, 2010

On Sundays QVC design guru Isaac Mizrahi likes to have breakfast, oatmeal, at our favorite Manhattan restaurant, Pastis.

That’s what we learned tonight after finally getting around to reading The Style section of The Sunday New York Times, where the Grey Lady gave us a blow-by-blow account of the curly-topped designer’s “Sunday Routine.”

Of course, when we go to Pastis, which is in the Meatpacking District, it’s not for oatmeal. It’s at Happy Hour, for Bombay Sapphire martinis, with olives, to wash down our steak frites.

Pastis, where QVC's Isaac Mizrahi dines on oatmeal and we swill over-priced Bombay Sapphire martinis

The feature acknowledges right off the bat that Mizrahi has a lifestyle collection on QVC, and that he co-hosts the Bravo program “The Fashion Show” with model/entrepreneur Iman, who is an HSN vendor.

Mizrahi likes to go for a morning swim, and then has to wait for his boyfriend, actor Arnold Germer, to get up so they can walk their dogs. Germer lives a few blocks from Mizrahi in the Village. Mizrahi’s dog Harry has been featured in a number of the designer’s QVC items.

Mizrahi enjoys going to museums and the movies on Sundays (as do we, we saw “Black Swan” today, and thought it was great).

He’s a fan of Il Cantinori, another Manhattan eatery, and on Sunday nights Mizrahi is an avid HBO viewer, saying, “I’m mad about ‘True Blood,’ and I even got into ‘Boardwalk.'”

Good selections, Isaac.

We also tip our hat to you for this comment to The Times: “I made no bones about loving television.”

Hell, we don’t either.

And we’re with him on this one, too: “Sunday is a Xanax night for me.”

But Isaac, please lose the head scarf.

The New York Times Reveals QVC’s Secrets: Not, But Honchos Mike George And Greg Maffei Surface

November 21, 2010

First The Wall Street Journal, now The New York Times, have woken up and figured out that home shopping is a booming business. And there was not one mention of cubic zirconia in either story.

While The Journal recently wrote about HSN with a trip to Florida, The Times headed out to West Chester, Pa., to do its take on QVC. The headline on the story this weekend is “Can QVC Translate Its Pitch Online.”

As a veteran journalist, we found that this story didn’t quite gel because although it’s supposed to be about QVC’s online strategy — and its growing online sales — much of the piece reports on the home shopping network’s TV side.

QVC CEO Mike George dissed a gift box with Santa's face on it, to the horror of a QVC PR person

Our guess is that when The Journal wrote about home shopping networks booming and attracting names like celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and others, The Times had to find a different angle for its story. And it made its angle about QVC.com.

A big thesis of The Times story is that people thought the Internet might hurt home shopping channels. Why would you think that? The Web lets QVC, HSN and ShopNBC sell their vast inventory 24 hours a day, not just a few items every day. But what do we know.

And once again, as we read in The Journal, home shopping hosts and vendors — via those pesky earpieces — are coached by producers about when items are selling, and when they are duds and it is time to move on. Big whoop!

Lisa Robertson says QVC viewers don't want polished professionals

You have the link so you can read The Times story yourself, but here are some points that stood out for us:

— QVC CEO Mike George finally came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— George dissed one of QVC’s products, prompting “an anguished sound” from a QVC PR person.

— Greg Maffei, CEO of QVC parent Liberty Media, came out of the woodwork and was interviewed for the story.

— Host Lisa Robertson’s quote, “They (QVC viewers) don’t want to see a bunch of polished professionals. They want to see the real people.” So Lisa, what are you saying? That you and your fellow hosts are a bunch of unpolished amateurs?

— Zoe has brought a ton of new customers to QVC.

— Milinda Baker Weldon from Graham, Texas, is a self-admitted QVC addict who has the network on six hours a day.

— Rachael Ray sold $350,000 worth of cookware on QVC in 12 minutes.

Celebrity Stylist Rachel Zoe’s Retro Faux Fur Vest Plugged In New York Times

August 27, 2010

Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe’s faux fur vest for QVC made the Thursday Style section of The New York Times yesterday, in a story headlined “Retro Looks, Almost at Retro Prices.”

Zoe’s vest sells for $79 and change, and comes in chinchilla, red fox, black fox and silver.

Zoe’s does a clothing and accessory collection for QVC.

HSN Vendor Carol’s Daughter Does Q&A With New York Times Business Section

August 23, 2010

Hair butter from Carol's Daughter

We’ve noted that HSN makes a real effort to target African-American customers, and one brand it’s brought on to do that is the beauty line Carol’s Daughter.

One of Carol’s Daughters investors is singer Mary J. Blige:

The Sunday New York Times did a Q&A with the brand’s founder and president, Lisa Price, that was headlined “Memo to Self: Don’t Take It Personally.” That’s good advice for us, because we take everything personally.

Price, who started out by making batches of her hair products in her kitchen, discusses her feelings about being a manager and bringing in a CEO for the company, Richard Dantas.

Carol's Daughter investor Mary J. Blige

Here’s what HSN has to say about Carol’s Daughter.

Beginning with a love for experimenting with fragrances, Brooklyn native Lisa Price started making products in her kitchen as gifts for friends back in 1993. Mixing essential oils and natural moisturizers, she homemade unique elixirs with love and attention to detail. She named her company in honor of her mother, to acknowledge her support and inspiration.

A well-known record executive spread the word about Lisa’s luxurious bath, body and hair care products, prompting the transition from creating concoctions in the kitchen for a select few to successfully reaching customers across the country via mail order and the web. Even though her products have earned a cult following – they’re a staple on the shelves of celebrity bathrooms – Carol’s daughter Lisa has stayed true to her homemade roots. After years of success, celebrity, and expansion Carol’s Daughter products are still made with love and still made by hand.

Discover yourself the special touch Lisa brings to each of her products. Carol’s Daughter offers only the sweetest, most luxurious products the heart can offer, so you can love your beauty.

Crabby Designer Arnold Scaasi To Shutter His Couture Business, But Continue His HSN Jewelry Line

July 22, 2010

One of Scaasi's HSN pieces

Mr. Charm and Warmth himself, Arnold Scaasi, is shuttering his apparel business after 55 years of supplying dresses to women like Barbara Bush and Barbra Streisand (he designed the see-through pants she wore to the Oscars in 1969).

But never fear, home shopping queens, Scaasi will continue to do his fashion jewelry line for HSN.

The New York Times had the news Thursday about Scaasi ending his dress line, in a story headlined “No More Flattery From Scaasi,” which we believe was a sarcastic hede. We hadn’t been aware of this, but Scaasi apparently has criticized Michelle Obama’s fashion style. We guess he feels he’s qualified, since he has dressed five First Ladies during his career, according to The Times.

Scaasi, who had been making 20 custom gowns a month, has a glorious jewelry line on HSN. The pieces are gorgeous, and really well-priced.

But he is a nasty jackass on-air, being rude to hosts such as Colleen Lopez, who gave it right back to him — in a nice way. He acts like he is above selling goods on a home shopping channel.

Well, if Badgley Mischka can come to HSN and not be condescending, so can Scaasi. We don’t care how many First Ladies he has dressed.

Perish The Thought: Is Cable King John Malone Looking To Merge QVC And HSN?

June 22, 2010

Mr. Malone, your highness, please don't merge QVC and HSN

Well kiddies, is QVC really looking to buy HSN? Que horror! That’s the New York Post’s take on Liberty Media’s announcement Monday that it plans to spin off two of its companies, Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz. That leaves Liberty Media with its Liberty Interactive unit, which includes QVC, as “an asset-based stock,” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said in a prepared statement.

You can read the boring details of the news here. Thank God we’re not at a trade paper anymore where we have to write that boring financial crap.

Because cable cowboy and legend John Malone is chairman of Liberty Media, anytime the company burps the press is on it like flies on dog doo. So Monday’s announcement got lots of ink. And the cable industry fawns over Malone and thinks he walks on water.

The interesting angle here is whether this complex financial transaction and spin-off is a prelude to Liberty Media, which already owns 35 percent of HSN, trying to acquire the rest of the Southern Channel. Or maybe Liberty Media will go after struggling ShopNBC, which is rumored to be up for sale. After all, NBC Universal is dumping its stake in the ShopNBC, No. 3 home shopping net.

We know one thing, which is that home shopping aficionados wouldn’t welcome a merger of QVC and HSN. Many fans buy from both networks, and like having selections from two channels. People who don’t watch QVC or HSN may think they are the same, but the networks have distinct visions and are quite different.

Since we are jewelry addicts, we love HSN and its willingness to mark down items. We also like what HSN CEO Mindy Grossman is doing to the network, bringing in top name designers such as Badgley Mischka.

As for QVC, we enjoy (or used to, before layoff) its Affinity Diamonds and Artisan Crafted jewelry.

And we want our Colleen Lopez on HSN and our Rick Domeier on QVC, please.

The Post’s Claire Atkinson, a vet of our former sister publication, B&C, plays up the QVC-HSN merger angle in her story. The New York Times even picked up her article.

The Post story in the newspaper has one of those great Post photoshop graphics: Malone’s head superimposed on the body of a guy wearing a Liberty sweat shirt, standing in front of the company’s headquarters in Colorado carrying two shopping bags: One says QVC and the other says HSN.

Atkinson writes that “speculation” is that Liberty is seriously going after HSN. That’s a much sexier story than writing what Maffei actually said on a conference call yesterday, which is that Liberty is not pursuing HSN.

“The market doesn’t believe us; watch August come and go,” Maffei said. “There’s no plan or intention to do anything other than to keep our options open.”

Our former colleague at Multichannel News, Mike Farrell, wrote about Maffei’s denial of the HSN rumors. According to Mike, while the new Liberty Interactive structure makes it easier for the company to go on a buying binge, Maffei said HSN is not a target right now.

“We’re certainly not going to chase HSN stock,” Mike quoted Maffei as saying.

Malone tried, and failed, to merge QVC and HSN back in 2007.

If he’s got any sneaky plans to go after HSN again, we hope he fails this time, too.

And liar, liar pants on fire if Maffei’s denials turn out not to be true.

HSN To Launch Second Home Shopping Channel, HSN2, On Dish Network Aug. 1

June 14, 2010

HSN2 is coming Aug. 1

It never fails. The one morning we sleep in (after getting just four hours of sleep each of the past five nights), which for us meant getting up at 8:30 a.m., HSN has some real news.

Monday HSN announced that it is launching a second home shopping channel Aug. 1 that will be offered on Dish Network. The network, called HSN2 (there’s a creative name), will essentially air reruns of HSN’s shows.

Or, as HSN’s talented writers put it, HSN2 is “designed to offer customers a curated assortment of encore airings of HSN’s must-see shows, products, brands and personalities.”

So, unlike HSN, HSN2 won’t be live.

“We are excited to launch HSN2 and provide our customers greater access to additional viewing and shopping options,” cleavage-baring HSN CEO Mindy Grossman said in a canned statement. “With different personalities, great brands and products airing simultaneously on each of our channels, customers will enjoy twice the entertainment, inspiration and discoveries.”

And Dish Network, who we used to cover when we were at Multichannel News, chimed in as well.

“Dish Network is pleased to support HSN on the launch of their new channel, and we look forward to offering HSN2 to our customers later this summer,” said Jerry Grasmick, Dish’s vice president of commercial services and sales.

Very illuminating, Jerry.

For the first several months, the channel will focus on feedback from HSN2 viewers and customers and respond accordingly.

“HSN is committed to being a leader in transactional innovation and exploring ways to grow and reach our customers through multiple platforms,” John McDevitt, HSN’s vice president of advanced services, said in his canned satatement. “HSN2 offers yet another means for our customers to access the high quality production and engaging shopping experiences they have come to expect of HSN.”

Programming for the new channel, we are told in the press release, “will be either complementary or counter to the programming on HSN, will be developed in unique and different ways to excite customers. The channel will also serve as a platform to test different ideas and develop new business opportunities for the company.”

HSN leaked the story to The New York Times, which ran it under the headline “Up Next: Reruns From HSN.”

The story quotes Grossman as saying that HSN2 will have original content.

And HSN2 will be in Dish’s 14 million homes. HSN is in 95 million households.

How HSN CEO Mindy Grossman Brought Iman To The Home Shopping Network, As Told By The New York Times

June 7, 2010

Model/entrepreneur Iman’s Global Chic line on HSN is one of the home shopping channel’s top four sellers among more than 200 apparel and jewelry lines, according to The Sunday New York Times.

In a Style section profile headlined “Not Just Another Pretty Face,” we learn how Iman’s association with HSN came about, as well as getting a history of how she went from being a Somalian diplomat’s daughter to a super model.

Iman, who is “Ziggy Stardust” creator David Bowie, came to New York City in 1975 knowing five languages, “but had never worn makeup or high heels,” according to The Times.

We learn about her ascension as a super model, and then about how she created her own makeup line for women of color in 1994. It turned into a $25 million a year business. Later on came HSN.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman in 2007 “was convinced that any fashion merchandise with Iman’s name on it would be a home run for her television home shopping network,” according to The Times.

Iman didn’t want to do it initially, since she had no experience as a fashion designer. But she felt comfortable starting out with caftans, which she had worn while living in Egypt.

At one point in the story, Iman shows off her HSN sequin knit wrap.

The news peg for the story is that tomorrow, Monday, Iman will be recognized as the year’s Fashion Icon by the Council of Fashion Designer of America at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

The story also notes, as we have already reported, that Iman in September will join another home shopping vendor, QVC’s Isaac Mizrahi, as a co-host on Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.”

Guys, If Your Woman Wants To Give You A ‘Spanx,’ Don’t Get Too Excited

May 30, 2010

Spanx compression T-shirt for men

Spanx, said to be the secret why the stars look slim on the red carpet, has been a big product on QVC for years, before gaining national press for their use by celebs. Creator Sara Blakely was once practically a fixture on the home shopping channel.

In the past year or so we’ve seen Gwyneth Paltrow quoted about putting on not one, but two, pairs of the Spanx shapewear to look good after just having a baby. And Tyra Banks and Wanda Sykes now own up to wearing Spanx.

Well ladies, maybe someday you’ll be able to buy Spanx on QVC — for your husband or main squeeze.

The Style Section of The Sunday New York Times today reports that “foundation garments,” as a Neiman Marcus executive called them, for men are hot sellers. And Spanx was the first on the bandwagon with its Spanx for Men line, described by The Times as “a huge retail hit.”

The story on men’s shapewear is headlined “Just Don’t Call It A Corset.”

While Spanx for women started out as panties with legs that hold your tummy and butt in tight, it’s a different product for men.

Spanx is offering “compression” T-shirts and tank tops, to gird up men’s stomachs, for $58 and $55, respectively.

They are now being sold at not only Neiman but Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

Women, or men, if you want Spanx for Men to come to QVC, let the home shopping network know.

But remember, just as we women must, that once you take that garment off, everything falls back to its normal position.

The Times quoted one critic as tweeting, “Spanx for Men is all good, until you meet a chick. You gain 45 lbs when you get naked.”

Great kicker, and true.