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Morning show part of HSN's new attitude

In addition to dishing out news, morning TV chat shows have always been a platform to peddle lifestyle goods. Now HSN is trying similar show-and-tell tactics to soften its selling edge.

Monday, the St. Petersburg shopping network debuted HSN Today, offering fast-paced, how-to home fix-up tips, a before-and-after patio makeover and coaching on how to dub a wedding video onto DVD.

It's not just to build a 6 to 9 a.m. audience for HSN's third-biggest selling part of the day.

"It gets us to the next level by being more engaging, entertaining and informative," said Andy Sheldon, senior vice president for TV and executive creative director, who came last year from HSN's defunct British sibling iBuy. "We're keeping it real."

Offering tips is a new crop of regulars touted as "resident experts." It's a departure for HSN, where experts are often supplied by vendors or come from the TV shopping world. Like several new show hosts, the experts come from cable or reality TV.

Network brass insist it's about talent, not the youth movement, and that they still value their "classic HSN" hosts. But most of the newcomers are younger than 35. And guys with spiked haircuts, clad in jeans and sports coats have not been common on HSN.

Initial reception from HSN loyalists is mixed. On HSN and rival QVC's blogs, many like the new approach. But some older viewers are turned off by the network trying to be young and trendy. A few wonder what happened to Kelly Repassy, co-host of HSN Today's predecessor. After seven years, the network let the former plus-size model's deal lapse.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or
(727) 893-8252.

Who are these guys?

New "resident experts" on HSN Today

Fitness guru Maven Huffman is a former WWE pro wrestler who won Tough Enough on MTV and appeared in The Surreal Life and Survivor … Do-it-yourself guru Bill Duggan comes from Curb Appeal on HGTV … Tech "geek girl" Katie Linendoll hosted Sportszone on ESPN … Tampa actor/electronics salesman Aaron Berger is how-to-do-it guy

New HSN hosts from outside TV shopping

Candice Kumai comes from Bravo's Top ChefTodd Newton comes from E! Entertainment Network and was a host on Gameshow Marathon and reality series Made in the USA

Morning show part of HSN's new attitude 06/02/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2008 4:46pm]
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