May 18, 2011
AFTER weeks of silence and a noticeable decline of fanbois and girls on his public Facebook page, Jim Skelton is again interacting with the public at said page. While only an anecdotal observation, It seems that as his absence from cable has dragged on, he began receiving less adoration and responses to wall posts. His continual thanking of people for their support also suggests that he had no call in the decision to leave the number three network. As were the tone of the calls when he was a host, every post on his public page seems to follow the same narrative – you got me into collecting; “I know longer” purchase watches from ShopNBC; that British guy sucks; Tim Temple sucks; when are you going somewhere to sell me watches…
He’s also taking swipes at his former employer;
“Yeah, they’ve been KILLING prices and maxing out Value Pays lately… wonder why huh? LOL”
As well as at fellow hosts:
“At the least, with Daniel you don’t ever have to endure “Ummm”, “Uhhhh” every 3rd word because he is a true professional in front of the camera. Can’t say that for everyone though…” Clearly this is in reference to Tim Temple who’s “uhhh” and “ummm” are his signature presentation style.
“I do not watch the shows. The RARE occasion I do, I will only watch Daniel or Shawn.” This is funny because he accused Wilsey of grandstanding when he publicly left Watchgeeks – guess he hates Tim “Replaced me” Temple that much more.
“I honestly think Mike (and select other vendor guests) are the only life & personality left on the watch shows.”
As this blog previously reported, the word was that Jim Skelton was very uncool to Tim Temple when they had run in’s after the later was replaced by ShopNBC. Stories have also been floating around that Skelton tried to undermine Temple when he was brought back – again, these are unsubstantiated but Skelton’s past behavior on TV and even this blog suggests an unsavory personality.
THE big question is, where will Skelton end up? He’ll definitely generate sales as there are people waiting for him to tell them what to buy. Will it be JTV? He’d fit in well with the white trash hosts on that network. Will he end up at WOW? That’s starting to seem unlikely. WOW is blowing it out with Charla and I doubt his salary would be worth the slight increase in sales. I used to think that we’d see Invicta TV with Skelton as the host, but after telling Jill Sommerstein she should have twins and name one Holocaust, leaving her visibly upset, that is not going to happen either.
He’s hinting that something is going to happen. Maybe it will be live on Stickam from the couches of those still “caught up in his allure”
One things for sure, it’s funny how it’s come full circle and Temple has replaced an apparently fired Skelton and it makes this Michael “Fuckin” Davis post from December of 2008 even funnier:
Considering how and under what circumstances Tim left SNBC “back in the day”, I doubt that would be the last place he would show up. While he may be liked there by some of the old timers, I am willing to bet that there is still enough management around to remember how he left to go start up a direct competitor and took 3 or 4 of the most popular hosts with him.
I wish no one at JTV any ill will, but it is not looking good at the moment.
March 31, 2011
MIGHT the exit of Jim Skelton from ShopNBC be due to eroding watch sales?
Just days after ShopNBC released Q4 results for 2010, Mr. Skelton disappeared from the airwaves and neither side is saying anything of substance. You’ll remember that I speculated he would be gone a year ago following a series of bizarre, on-air actions and statements in October of 2009 after the announcement that Tim Temple was being brought back to the network who had fired him six years prior. What followed were twelve months that saw one Invicta flop and scandal after another. But dead watches and hands that fell off were not limited to Invicta as other brands sold by the network arrived in non-working order to customers. Mr. Skelton continued his hostile behavior, famously throwing a ruler on the set and teasing Larry Magen about his dye job to the point that Mr. Magen snapped on the air. Mr. Skelton was also absent for long stretches of time, leading many to believe that the end of the Skelton era had arrived. Upon his return he began calling out this blog as well as individual members of the Watchlords forum as well as adopting a very snide tone with his forum membership.
As people complained on watchgeeks about inferior products and misleading statements used to sell the watches they were systematically banned or bullied by the Yellow shirt enforcers into silence on the Watchgeek forum. But these heavy handed actions didn’t stop the descent; seemingly generating more. As the one year anniversary of my original blog approached, Mr. Skelton started bragging about signing a long term, no cut contract.
EVEN I was surprised when I saw the news. I assumed I had seemingly made the correct case but was off by a year. I did forget about the earnings call and so I took a look at the earnings information released by VVTV. At first I was equally shocked about the 6% decline in watch sales against the same time period last year at the psychological height of the depression. But is it really that shocking? The former individual owners of Watchgeeks, as well as others who I’d consider friends of this blog, usually downplay my suggestion that Shop watch sales were driven primarily by Watchgeek membership and it has always been thought, albeit anecdotally, that all of the testimonial calls into Mr. Skelton’s shows were plants. But in a thread on WG concerning Mr. Skelton’s split with Shop, we seem to have proof:
A friendship developed on email, and we would exchange idea’s and questions on the timepiece’s. One day Jim emailed me and asked to call into the show, as a customer, who, wanted to express feelings about timepiece’s and invicta models and my experience’s with them.
I called in several times, regarding many timepiece’s and vendor models as well.
I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that Mr. Skelton had bonuses tied to sales and he was not your ordinary shopping channel host. He was a cheerleader and apologist for Invicta long before he ever came to TV, possibly with a retail background. By some accounts a hand picked successor to Tim Temple by Eyal Cool J. Temple who, supposedly wanted more control over product and to push the higher-end. But realistically the margins are much smaller with those classes of timepieces. It makes a lot more sense to sell a Chinese assembled watch marked “Swiss” at several times it’s actual unit cost. Reaching out to just a few dozen individuals like the person quoted above would not only generate sales because of an implied “friendship” but would push other members into making multiple purchases as well; specifically shut ins and individuals with little or no self esteem and a need to belong.
BUT the decline in sales doesn’t fall completely on Mr. Skelton. ShopNBC advertised diamonds on watches that were actually crystal; they marketed Chinese made watches as having a Swiss pedigree; they used a man-made composite of sandstone and marketed it as natural; they sold turquoise dial watches that were a cheap mineral alternative and they sold watches that featured hands that fell of. People started criticizing the fact that every hyped model was just a different color dial or rubber instead of a steel bracelet like the previous version. Again, the complaints grew louder and those voices disappeared. Michael Davis, at the time a Watchgeek owner and still the Technical Brand Manager for Invicta, issued the now famous edict – there is no free speech at Watchgeeks.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that people tired of getting products that were advertised as something they were not and that they tired of the heavy handedness of the forum. I’d expect a decline in sales to follow. Need more proof? Just take a look at how outrageous his sales presentations became.
IT was my belief in the fall of 2009 that Mr. Skelton would soon be benched. It didn’t come to pass on the original timeline. But now it has, and if we work backwards with a little math based on Mr. Skelton’s own comment on that original blog, he signed in late September or early October of 2009. I’d expect that to run one year, which would have placed his resigning again in that same September / October timeframe. It is now the end of March which would make a late September signing the 6 month mark. I do believe he is going to end up on WoW.tv or an Invicta launched channel. And I think a lot of people will follow him there and he’ll be just fine. Free of the employer oversight that seemingly burned him so many times over the past few years.
Will it be 6 months from now? Is that the real Watch Commander on Twitter claiming to be in Minnesota or an impostor?
Will ShopNBC even be around 6 months from now?