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Catch Inspiration Christine Benedict On Style Network’s ‘Clean House’ Tonight

June 16, 2010

The Benedict family

Back in January we wrote a story about Christine Benedict, a cervical cancer survivor whose cluttered home got a makeover on “Clean House,” the Style Network show.

We wrote the piece about Benedict, who lives in Wayne, N.J., with her loving husband and daughter, for

Well, the “Clean House” episode featuring the Benedicts airs tonight, Wednesday, at 10 p.m.

Her story is inspirational, and she and her family are bathed in light, in goodness. Benedict credits the hospital chain where we volunteer, St. Barnabas Health Care System, with saving her life.

We’ve been back to the Benedict’s cute Cape Cod house since the its redecorating, and it looks great. But we won’t spoil the surprise.

Tune in to the show tonight.

‘Clean House’ Comes To Jersey, And We Write About Its Rescue Of A Cancer Survivor For

January 18, 2010

Our photo of Christine Benedict, her devoted husband Bill and their sweet daughter Katherine at their Wayne home, before the clean-up

We’ve been keeping very busy above and beyond this blog, working on our story about Style Network’s “Clean House” coming to Wayne, N.J., to help a cervical cancer survivor. The piece was just posted on

We interviewed Christine and Bill Benedict at their small Cape Cod home last Thursday, a house brimming over with a mess of clothes, papers, boxes, etc. Their sweet 9 1/2-year-old daughter Katherine was there, too.

This family went through a difficult period, for about 18 months or so, when Christine underwent more than a half dozen surgeries, chemo and radiation. During that time, her house spiraled into disarray. Housecleaning was just not a priority. But she is in remission now, and the house is such a disaster that the family can’t even have guests over anymore.

That’s why Christine, a fan of “Clean House,” contacted the show for a makeover. The filming of the episode started last week, when we were up in Wayne.

They are a delightful family, and their trials make us thankful for our own health. Christine, who has curly hair likes ours, won us over right away when we saw she read tarot cards. She had chakra stones out as well as white sage, which is burned to get rid of negative energy (we have to burn some of it in our condo to get rid of those bad layoff memories), and a quartz crystal, for clarity and focus (we have one near our bedside).

You know we believe in all that New Age, spiritual stuff. And Christine told us we had a good aura.

There was also a remarkable coincidence, or syncronicity, regarding this story. Before we went to Wayne, the Style Network PR people told us that Christine had had cancer.

So when we met Christine we asked her where she had been treated. She said Saint Barnabas Medical Center. We are currently volunteering in the corporate PR dept. for that hospital’s parent, the Saint Barnabas Health Care System. We work right across the street from the hospital.

We were surprised to hear that Christine had made a 45-minute trip each way daily for awhile to get treatment at Saint Barnabas in Livingston, a haul from her Wayne home.

Then — through no prompting on our part, we swear on our grandmothers’ graves — Christine replied, “They’re fabulous, and they are the premier female cancer center in the state.”

Quite a nice, unsolicted endorsement for Saint Barnabas.

We also took photos at the Benedict house, although our shots of “Clean House” hunk Matt Iseman — who was born in Englewood, N.J., and went to Princeton — came out blurry.

Anyway, read the story to find out why the material things that we and you are buying on QVC, HSN and ShopNBC don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. That’s what the Benedict familly found out.

Oxygen Jumps On the Jersey Reality-TV Bandwagon, In The Wake Of ‘Real Housewives Of New Jersey’ and ‘Jersey Shore,’ With ‘Jersey Couture’ Show

January 11, 2010

Oxygen's potential show Jersey Couture is about a Freehold, N.J., women's formalwear boutique that sells dress like this.

Well, we’ll be damned. Jersey girls rule on reality TV.

Our beloved Garden State, the new mecca for reality-TV producers, will be the site of yet another “docu-soap.” This one, in development by the women’s network Oxygen, has a working title of “Jersey Couture,” echoing the name of that overpriced brand for tween and teen girls, Juicy Couture.

The show was announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, a shindig we attended last year, just two weeks before we were abuptly laid off. just posted our story on “Jersey Couture.”

From what we understand, “Jersey Couture” is about an upscale Freehold, N.J., women’s formalwear shop, Diane & Co. It is owned by Diane Scali and her family.

“From canary yellow beaded sheaths to gold lamé, the Scali family offers over-the-top dresses to satisfy every girl’s special event needs,” Oxygen said in a press release.

New Jersey, once the butt of jokes, is now the new hot spot for reality-TV shows that in many cases play on stereotypes the rest of America has about us. We’ve had Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” TLC’s “Cake Boss” and “18 Kids and Counting,” and Style Network’s “Jerseylicious,” which debuts in March.

We wrote about this new trend in Jersey-set programming for, where experts told us that TV producers believe that the Garden State’s “loud and proud” residents are perfect for reality-TV shows.

Before Oxygen's Jersey Couture will be Style Network's Jerseylicious, which is about the women of the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. You go Jersey girls!

“Jerseylicious” is about the women who run the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, N.J. We visited the place during one of the last weeks it was shooting in December, and filed a package of stories for

As for “Jersey Couture,” here’s the sketchy info that Oxygen has provided.

“With a no nonsense attitude, the Scali family’s extravagant dress store is the premiere glamour stop in New Jersey,” Oxygen said in its TCA press release. “Get ready for the Cinderella experience of a lifetime. Whether it’s for her bride’s maid’s needs or her high school prom frills, when it comes to ‘what to wear’ to that elegant affair, no one gets the job done like the ladies at Diane & Co.”

Remember that “Jersey Couture” is just in development, which means Oxygen has not committed yet to pick it up as a series.

Move Over ‘Real Housewives,’ Style Network To Serve Up ‘Jerseylicious’ Reality Show

November 6, 2009

We know this blog is supposed to be about home shopping, but we also indulge our love of TV programming and New Jersey here.

The latest news is that the Garden State is going to be home to a new reality series, “Jerseylicious,” that will be airing on The Style Network.

It looks like Bravo’s huge success with “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” has inspired another show about mouthy Jersey girls with big hair.

The Style reality show takes place in a hair salon in Green Brook, N.J.

For more on “Jerseylicious,” see our story on

From QVC To FX: Shameless Self-Promotion Of Our Interview With Kurt Sutter, Creator of TV’s Edgy ‘Sons of Anarchy’

October 19, 2009

We told you that home shopping is one of our guilty pleasures, but great TV programming is also one of our passions. And FX is one of our favorite networks, and its drama “Sons of Anarchy” is one of our favorite shows.

Today our interview with Kurt Sutter, a fellow New Jersey native and the creator/producer of  “Sons,” is on It’s a Web site, started by former Star-Ledger reporters, that we have been writing for while looking for a full-time gig.

Some may think it strange that we can turn from the safe haven of QVC to FX, home of some of TV’s most risk-taking shows. But we’re interested in many aspects of pop culture. That’s how we roll.

If you don’t like sex, nudity and violence on TV, don’t tune to “Sons of Anarchy.” But we do, and that’s part of the reason we watch the show. But we’re also drawn because it’s a compelling drama. The lead, Charlie Hunnam, is pretty easy on the eyes, too.

“Sons” is about an outlaw motorcycle club in California, with elements of “Hamlet.” Sutter, who is from Clark, N.J., also has a small role in the show as jailed Sons of Anarchy member Big Otto. Sutter’s wife, actress Katey Sagal, plays the tough matriarch of the club, Gemma.

We also have a second story on how Sutter feels about the business of TV up on

Although Sutter is no fan of New Jersey, like many natives who have gone on to bigger and better things, he is proud of his blue-collar roots and work ethic.

We’ve heard another Jersey guy, actor James Gandolfini of “The Sopranos,” make the exact same comments about his background and its impact on his career.

And need we state the obvious: Bruce Springsteen.

We’re cut from that same Jersey blue-collar cloth.

Sutter may not talk up Jersey, but it’s like being a lapsed Catholic. You may try to shake off the religion, but it sticks with you. So does Jersey. Sutter was down to earth and nice, not a Hollywood prima donna.

Right now we’re working on a story on a Bon Jovi documentary that will air on Showtime.

In that doc, Tico Torres articulates his thoughts about what it means to be from the Tri-State area when he talks about Bon Jovi.

“We’re going to fight to make it the best band, the best music and the best show possible,” he says. “That’s inherent in our upbringing. That’s a Jersey-New York signature. You’ll find it with anybody from that area.”