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.
__________________
Michael

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?

IT has been over a year since I conceded that I was wrong and ShopNBC host Jim Skelton was, in fact, staying at the number three network. But I have just been informed that Mr. Skelton has stated on Facebook, that he is now a “free agent”. This comes weeks after both Mr. Skelton and Invicta Technical Brand Manager, Michael Davis, sold off their interests in Watchgeeks.net, in a deal speculated by some to be in the five digits.

WHILE the terms of the separation are unknown, it comes on the heels of Mr. Skelton buying both a house and several vehicles, including muscle cars and motorcycles.

WHEN I asked WoW chief Lior Ben Shmuel if Mr. Skelton was a potential host for WoW.TV as I was confirming the launch of his network, he responded with “What?”

I do suspect Mr. Skelton will turn up on the watch infomercials for WoW or possibly even an Invicta launched competitor. But, it was about two weeks ago that Mr. Skelton took an unexpected trip to Florida. When it was mentioned on Watchlords.com, I called it as his screen test for WoW.

IF Mr.Skelton hosts on WoW, what will it mean to the Shops bottom line?

Jim Skelton Leaves Watchgeeks

February 22, 2011

“As you know, Michael, Bruce and myself have transferred ownership of watchgeeks.net over to Invicta. At the same time, I am leaving the forum. As we continue to build the watch shows at ShopNBC, I need to focus more of my time and energy there. I am also working on spending more quality time with my own family, and not be tethered to a computer all the time this has been in the works for a while now, and I felt it needed to be done. I have been blessed with two great partners who agreed and worked with me on this transition. Thanks also to Eyal and Invicta for picking up the baton and carrying WG forward with grace.

I am always here for you however, and you can feel free to always contact me via email or on my two Facebook pages.

I cannot begin to thank all of you enough for your amazing support, both of me personally at ShopNBC and also for your support of watchgeeks. We have not only watched this forum grow, but more importantly we have watched our membership grow closer as a family. Many of you have made lifelong friendships, and the community here goes far beyond a typical watch forum on the Internet. I am forever grateful for all you have done here to create this community, and I know that Invicta plans to grow the forum in so many ways, without changing anything that you love about it.

You guys made it happen, and I know I speak for Bruce and Michael when I say THANK YOU for all that you’ve done, and I am excited to see what the future holds for this community.

If anyone needs to contact me, or just wants to keep in touch, I’m not disappearing… you can reach me via email at jskelton@shopnbc.com or on my Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-Sk…03476923063566

Thank you all so much, it has been my greatest pleasure getting to know all of you. Don’t be strangers…”

IS Comcast owned ShopNBC trying to distance themselves from Invicta? Or is Jim Skelton giving up WGs and the site a requirement to let him out of a non-compete?

I dropped into this event off and on. It seems like a better name would have been “10 Hours of Sicuro Watch Boxes” or maybe “18 Hours of Non-Specific Watch Hosts”.

WITH the hiring of Bill McGarth as VP of QA, I suspected that there would be a move at the network to address the complaints of poor product quality. The most recent example being the Invicta Subaqua Noma III Ocean Quest dive kit beset by an apparent design flaw. It appears that the screws that attach the band to the case are too soft and the threads too small which results in striped screws. Interestingly enough, they are still pushing these kits during the event at nearly $450 bucks. It’s sharing the spotlight with the next OTV that i suspect will meet with complaints: the Sicuro Watch box.

The sales people speak of its solid, MDF construction implying that this is a mark of quality. MDF is solid and well suited to many applications. A proported luxury piece if furniture is not one of them.

MDF has one glaring drawback, and that is shrinking in low humidity. I suspect that watchgeeks.net may see an influx of complaints regarding cracks at the seams over the next few months probably starting in the southwest and spreading to the northeast during the next cold snap as furnaces kick into high gear and dry out homes. Maybe its the studio lights; maybe it’s the tv I’m watching or a combination of both, but the polyurethane appears to be cracked on the back edge which I can only assume to have been caused by sliding the drawers in and out during presentations, much like the on air stripping of the SAN OQ lug bolts reveals products that don’t hold up. ShopNBC would be wise to set up a lab with a couple of industrial engineers to devise machines to simulate these actions, much like IKEA has done. This would go a long way to simulate real world use and correct design flaws and mediocre craftsmanship. How are Skelton and company going to spin this one over at watcgeeks? In a one response regarding the SAN OQ he really is condescending and rather forceful in pushing the ‘operator error’ argument. Maybe they’ll suggest buying a humidifier to run in the room where the box is kept? Wonder what the J number will be?

ON to the interior of the box, and the supple and luxurious French velour that we’re told isn’t simply, velvet, but something more. Maybe more synthetic as most velour is made of polyester, which is what gives it a shine. Compare that to velvet which, in higher end products is produced from silk.

A few other highlights included Daniel Mink contrasting the far superior push button lug strap changing system on the Renato Beauty to the unnamed “other brands that use a flawsed and difficult” hex screw system. See Invicta’s Subaqua Noma III Ocean Quest.

I also like when Mink retorted to Skelton’s “nice tie, you got that from me” comment with, “You have a nice hairy tie” which was a reference to the Duce Bigalow, open shirt that Skelton had on. Surely that is driving sales to women. In this same segment Douche Bigalow also made a comment about being able to “get (a Renato being presented) cheaper of the Internet…” A direct reference to a blog that I wrote using a Renato for sale at watchgeeks.net (a forum co-owned by Michael Davis and Jim Skelton) to illustrate how watchgeeks is in direct competition with SNBC due to it being nearly $200 cheaper. He can yuck it up, but I suspect that the traffic coming directly from that blog to the watchgeeks site is the primary reason that WG site went dark.

All in all it was just 27 hours of the same 15 or so products in rotation. One looks forward to the day when Temple guides the network toward a wider and more exciting product base.

If the network brass are smart, they’re going to make this adjustment sooner than later.

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