Joan Rivers's "Can We Shop?" -- the first home shopping program to be syndicated for broadcast television -- has been the subject of rumors that put the future of the show, which has one of the lowest ratings in TV, in jeopardy.
A spokeswoman for Tribune Entertainment, the show's syndicator, denied the show will be canceled, but added that no decision had been made beyond June 16, when its current 13-week production schedule is slated to end.
Producers hoped that sales revenue would compensate for ratings, since shopping programs have difficulty attracting an audience on broadcast TV. For some stations it has, but for others, sales have been disappointing.
"We've done fairly well with it in Miami," said Ed Wasilik, program director of WBSF-TV. "We're one of their top-performing markets."
KTVU-TV in San Francisco moved the program from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
"After watching the show and its rating performance, late night seems to be the best environment for people to order products," said Kevin O'Brien, KTVU's general manager. "We're still intrigued by the concept. We like being revenue partners. It was just in the wrong time period."
KITN-TV in Minneapolis moved the show from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
"Technically they've done a good job," said Rip Riordon, KITN's general manager.
Mike Dunlop, general manager of KTXH-TV in Houston, said, "We've been very disappointed with it thus far. We're going to give it another month and then decide whether to move it to another time slot or drop it.
"We felt this was a new revenue stream and we wanted to experiment with it," Dunlop said. "The syndicator came here with projections of what home shopping has done in the marketplace. The show's revenues fell far short."
The Tribune spokeswoman said there have been production changes. All programs now have themes, such as gifts for Mother's Day. In addition, there has been an effort to book guests more interesting to the general public, like Rita Rudner and Carrie Fisher. (Both had books to sell.)"They're starting to do a lot more 'fun' segments," the spokeswoman added. "They are going to be selling an island off the coast of Florida for $2.8 million on an upcoming show."
Q2's SIMPLE STYLE: Q2, which is advertising itself as "Resource Television," plans to educate consumers about how the products it sells will fit into their lives.
One step in that direction is "Chic Simple," a weekly one-hour program based on a series of lifestyle books of the same name. The books, by Kim Johnson Gross and Jeff Stone, talk about living stylishly for less money, with tips on decorating, dressing and cooking.
The authors are also designing a line of private label Chic Simple merchandise including men's, women's and children's apparel, accessories, products for the home, footwear and health and beauty items.
The programs will be hosted by Gross and Stone.
INSIDE STORY: Conventional wisdom has it that apparel is hard to sell through infomercials. First there are the sizing issues. Then there is the question of managing the inventory.
Nevertheless, California Infomercial Association is introducing an infomercial on May 1 for a group of bodysuits designed by Carol Maloney, a Los Angeles lingerie designer. Cristina Ferrare will host.
Lenny Shabes, president of CIA, dismisses the sizing problem, saying, "The bodysuits are stretchable and more forgiving than regular clothing. All the bodysuits have Lycra spandex."
Maloney said that because the bodysuits are made in California, quick turnaround on back orders shouldn't be a problem. There are four styles in three sizes for about $49. The colors are white, black or ivory.
HSN, A SHOPPING PRODIGY: HSN Products Inc., a subsidiary of HSN, has signed a letter of intent with Prodigy Services Co. to develop an online store for personal computer users.
Product lines for the online store will be similar to those sold on the Home Shopping Club. They include jewelry, housewares, fashion and electronics. For the first time products will be depicted with full color photos instead of drawings on Prodigy.REEBOK MAKES CABLE HEALTHIER: Reebok International Ltd. and Liberty Media Corp. have signed letters of intent to acquire minority equity interests in Cable Health Club, a cable health and fitness network.
Cable Health Club, owned by Cable Health TV Inc., a subsidiary of International Family Entertainment, and Body By Jake Inc., was launched in 1993. The amount of each investment was not known.
Reebok will also be involved in developing programming and selling its products on the home shopping component.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews