From Jim Skelton’s Facebook page:

“Last week I posted that I would have an announcement coming soon. Well, today is part one of that announcement. I am retiring from TV! This is a decision long in the making, and was not made lightly. I begin a new chapter in my life, filled with opportunity and excitement. My family will be leaving Miami and relocating to Dallas Texas in April. I am currently on my way to the airport to meet my realtor in Dallas to begin the search for our new home.

I will not be on the air this weekend, but will be on the following weekend, and hope to enjoy my last few shows with all of you. To clarify, I am not leaving to go to another network, the next few shows will truly be my last ever on TV. I have enjoyed my 10+ years doing what I love, sharing my passion for watches with all of you. I’m fortunate to have made a connection with so many people, and gotten to know you and your families over the years. You’ve allowed me to do what I love, and invited me into your homes, and you’ll never know how truly grateful I am for that. It’s time now for me to share my other passions with the world, in a totally different venue, but one that everyone will have access to. In the coming weeks I will follow this up with the rest of the details, but I am still ironing everything out at this point. This time around I have the freedom to share everything about my upcoming adventures, without any silly contracts prohibiting me from disclosing details of where I’m going and what I’m doing. Thank You all so much for your support and I look forward to what lies ahead for myself and my family. Stick around, I hope to surprise you”
The much loved, and equally maligned, former host of the distant number three shopping network, ShopNBC, ShopHQ, Evine has called it quits and is leaving DirectTV channel 227 where he barks for SWI. Unlike ShopNBC, where he was fired, we’re not sure if he is the one calling the shots on this move or not. I’ve wondered what his baggage would mean to Clearlake Capital Group, the investment firm that bought SWI back in December of 2012. Without Lior to protect him and corporate wolves focused on profit and flying below the radar, what would happen with Jim? I’ll state that I have zero knowledge of his contract details, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Skelton was working for base, plus commission. With watchgeeks.net gone, how was Skelton marketing to anyone? His FB page revealed thousands of fans that always lamented their financial woes whenever he added product placements for his shows. He couldn’t have been selling much.  I’d hardly call his Strider watch collaboration with Android’s Wing Liang a success as the price was halved for a few months and he still hasn’t been able to move the total production of 500 units. My prediction: Jim Skelton makes a move into knives and tries to duplicate the success he had in TV horology with the apparent vacuum left by the exit of the Frost Cutlery guys.

WITH today’s announcement of Renato spinning off their own forum, renatogeeks; and internet TV show, can we expect the world of TV Horology to collapse under it’s diversified weight?

ShopNBC used to be the defacto place to buy brands whose retail presence was secondary to their late night cable appearances on ShopNBC. Fans regularly phish for new products, gaining bragging rights on the WG town square. Filling the huge, empty hole in their souls with easy Value Pays and products selling for a 10th of the retail value.

Watchgeeks.net was spun up by a green ShopNBC host who used it to aggregate all of those dispirit fans who routinely got into pissing contests on other forums defending the Invicta brand – this was a fruitopia for those collectors and addicts; both vain and broken.

This model worked well for awhile, like Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. But then Invicta, who appears to have financed the site for many years, was no longer the king. Invicta quality started to wain and they began replacing the stuff that made them a value and viable brand – using coated mineral crystals and replacing stainless with polymers. Lior of SWI got into the game around this time. Where once he pushed brands that he actually owned the licensing agreement for, like Triumph and Jacques Lemans, he wanted to compete head to head with Invicta and so introduced Swiss Legend. These were “Swiss Movement” watches and Laylo loved to point out that all of his “Swiss” watches were the best value – because they were made in Switzerland. This occurred as better quality Chinese made brands were introduced (Android) and Invicta was beset by one scandal after another; caught lying about materials and having to admit that “Swiss” was actual Chinese.

The one commonality with all the TV brands is that they own no factories. They are a brand with designers who outsource it’s manufacture to the lowest bidder. I’ve seen TV Watch brand fans laugh off Fossil. But brands like Invicta are not even in Fossils league. The company actually takes a lead in quality and works with the suppliers at the manufacturing level to ensure the highest possible quality standards. Go to your local TJ Maxx and compare the two sometime.

WHEN James “No Cut Contract” Skelton replaced Tim Temple, he brought an entirely new demographic to the world of Horology. The Coors Lite; riding motorcycles in shorts and flip flops crowd people who smoked cigars and left the rings on; that drank Chardonnay from a box while wearing shirts with the top 4 buttons undone. These were not watch idiot savants – they was plain fucking idiots.

I’VE suspected that WOW.TV was a reaction to the Invicta Swinese scandal. They had been at a competitive disadvantage with Invicta who was claiming to offer supposed Swiss made watches at the same or lower prices. Always subjected to the Invicta crew of Davis, Lalo, Jill and even Skelton implying that consumers were getting Swiss made. Having handled both Swiss Legend and Invicta, the quality is slightly higher in more of the SWI examples. Surely Lior had handled the competition and realized he was surpassing Invicta but always second fiddle.

By the looks of it, WOW is a success and they are pushing Invicta product as well; sometimes the same product as Shop but far cheaper. Their customer service is legendary and far surpasses the complaints with SNBC and invicta’s CS blackhole.

AFTER the Michael Davis sticky on watchgeeks throwing Daniel Mink under the bus followed a day later with a Mink email blast announcing the planned termination of the WG/Renato relationship and launch of Renatogeeks.com and RenatoTV, two of the five major TV brands are now representing themselves with a major web presence and streaming internet tv shows. Are the remaining few far behind? How will ShopNBC and Invicta fair? Where once it looked as if ShopNBC was becoming THE Invicta channel, they have started to introduce SkyMalls favorite brand, Stauer, as well as a higher profile for Android.

Another competitive factor is Jim Skelton and where he’ll end up in September. Could Android be the next to go solo with Jim at the sales helm pushing Wing’s dreams to the fiends? Or is he headed to JTV as some are claiming and what will that do for the trailer park network and how it competes with ShopNBC?

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

WatchGeeks 2.0?

May 20, 2010

SOMETHING interesting showed up in the betterskills inbox last week. I have not been able to validate the authenticity but if real, it would suggest an evolution of the WatchGeeks community to more of a social network – watchgeeks.ning.com.

For the record – I’m thinking hoax. But if legit, it would make a lot of sense. Over the past few months there have been a steady increase of members who only seem to join so that they can bitch about poor Invicta quality and CS, from the Dive Kit Screws and case mold to the latest Reserve Speedway plagued with complaints. It’s like one fail after another with the established geeks trying to arguing over legit complaints. A social network model would effectively lower the public visibility of all the complaints but could also serve to take the decent underground and possibly less easy to control. But if it’s a numbers game you’re concerned with and you could keep the new member level high, you could, on the surface, cover up a lot of these boils and sores.

I’ll keep watching it as the 9 month date of Jim Skelton’s contract approaches, which I’ve been told is the possible duration of a SNBC contract if not inked for 12 months.

Speaking of XOSkelton slowly being eased out – how about Avi Vierra showing up on the debut of XOSKELETON as their apparent Technical Brand Manager! Funny because I suggested her several months back. She’s the perfect transition from Skelton – I’d much rather look at Beauty than the Beast!

WELL, we are at years end and Jim Skelton is still hosting at ShopNBC.

“What gives, Betterskills? Why he still there?”

In my best Teluglish, “Let me ‘splain you…”

In my blog, Jim Skelton Out At ShopNBC?, I initially thought as much, and this suspicion seems to have credence as former host Tim Temple had recently announced that ShopNBC’s management contacting and rehiring him.

But the response from Skelton groupies and Mr.Skelton’s posing as In Cognito and commenting a few weeks after his initial, official response to that blog seemed to suggest that it would be neccisary to push it out. In retrospect his exit will probably follow the fiscal year.

A current trend I notice with the latest ShopNBC schedule, dated 12/30/2009 to 1/5/10 is that Mr. Skelton is hosting his normal Sunday show in prime time but he’s stuck with the late night, early morning slots. There are a total of 28 hours of watch programs, of which Skelton has only 8; the rest of the hours divided up between 7 other hosts. Two of these hosts I do not recall ever having presented watches. Let’s look back at Skelton’s official response to Temple’s return back in October on the website that he owns with Invicta’s Michael Davis:

“Tim will be coming back to host some of the watch hours that are currently being hosted by ‘non watch-specific hosts’ a few hours a week. The watch hours continue to grow on our calendar, and I simply cannot work as many hours as we see listed. Shawn (Wilsie) cannot work that many hours,…”

The entire remaining 20 hours is hosted by ‘non watch-specific hosts’ and Shawn Wilsie is nowhere in sight. One slot is on New Years eve in the wee hours of the last day of 2009. If he had juice, one would think he’d be on vacation like Temple is for this period – right? Additionally he is hosting an electronics show; a show completely out of character as he likes to tout that he is “the watch host” – an hour, reminiscent of his hour of Die-Cast in October.

On tonight’s Invicta show, 12/30/2009, he stated that he so loves his job that he came to work with Kidney Stones. Doesn’t that count as a reason to call off for medical reasons; especially when one is on air talent?

As Tim Temple is fond of saying, “I’m just sayin’…”

And that I am.

Mink v. Temple?

November 23, 2009

IS it me or is there a noticable tension between Daniel Mink and Tim Temple? Temple keeps heaping praise on the Renato timepieces but Mink keeps making snarky comments and one wonders where Daniel’s comment regarding being nice because you “never know when your paths may cross again” is directed.

Might the two have a history? It’s quite possible that Mink could have approached JTV or even Shop At Home? It is conceivable that Mink approached other networks after Renato “left” ShopNBC? Could it have been Mr. Temple that derailed any deal? I suspect that the JTV team would have been reluctant to work with Renato because of the complaints from consumers of the diamond quality and clarity, as well as the questionable origin of some timepieces presented as Swiss Made.

A pattern that I’ve noticed with callers is that they are clearly Camp Jim or Camp Tim. I also notice that Tim Temple never makes any mention of Jim Skelton; instead referring to the period that Skelton took over as “The Watch Program”. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have yet to hear Jim Skelton say Tim’s name or Temple saying Jim’s name.

And did you hear John from Texas? Renato watches gave him the will to live?!

IT was Tim’s turn in primetime tonight as he presents the first, primetime showing of a brand new to the network, Le Chateau.

A few things jumped out at me tonight. The first; when Tim stated he is no expert. I immediately thought of Skelton’s rattling off of movement numbers and technical specs. He then name checked Thomas Prescher and his having interviewed Prescher at Basel. Might this mark a return to the Jeff Hess / ValueVision days of truly, high end pieces? I might be wrong, but I think Temple sold Quintings on ValueVision.

I’ve also notice a distinct difference in how the shows are shot. Temple sits on the left while Skelton rides the right side of the box. The shots of the timepieces themselves are live on Tim Temple’s show, featuring close ups and Tim manually manipulating and displaying the pieces. The Renato show was usually the looped video segments and not a lot of Skelton actually handling the timepieces, but way more wristshots.

It feels like Temple is getting more face time.

Am I the only one that notices Mr. Temple talks about his rejoining of ShopNBC and not the greater ‘Watch Program’ of the network? I really do feel like I’m watching two different networks. I think this is demonstrating a clear break between the future and the current lame duck. I can almost see Mr. Skelton climbing aboard the helicopter and waving goodbye, one last time.

I do find it curious that Mr. Temple seems to be pushing the lower end of the ShopNBC inventory, but I think this is more for his own adjustment and to further develop the looseness that he had with Avi on the Nashville Shopping Network. I do predict that she’ll be on ShopNBC within the next 6 months.

Is Renato actually top of the line? The finishing is impecable but these are, at their core, Asian watches. And as everyone remembers, Renato was booted of SNBC for making false statements about the quality of diamonds used in their watches. One wonders if we may see a wholesale change at the network that includes a lot of new brands; and no longer includes some of the old favorites like Renato or Invicta.