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October 10, 2015


Infomercial Star Don Lapre Found Dead in Jail

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 3rd 2011 10:15AM
Don LapreArizona TV pitchman Don Lapre, the self-styled "King of Infomercials," has been found dead in his jail cell, just days before he was due to stand trial on charges of bilking investors and customers out of almost $52 million.

According to AZCentral.com, U.S. Marshals said Lapre's body was discovered on Sunday morning at a federal-contract facility in Florence, Arizona.

Officials suspect he committed suicide while in federal custody, but the death remains under investigation.

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Best and Worst Infomercials on TV Right Now

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 30th 2011 11:00AM
Chaz DeanWhat exactly makes for a "good" infomercial? Aren't most infomercials "bad," even if the product is good? And bad products are sometimes showcased in highly entertaining infomercials. In fact, an entertaining infomercial is better than a really unfunny sitcom.

All that makes choosing the best and worst infomercials a little tricky. So this is a list of infomercials that are running right now, with their good points and bad points. There isn't a "best" list and a "worst" list, they're all a "best and worst."

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Gilbert Gottfried: Comedian, Actor and ... Pitchman?!?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 17th 2010 10:00PM
Does it ever feel like your TV is screaming at you? This ad is actually yelling at you. No, you're not high on drugs.

For some reason, the people behind Shoedini, the device that allows you to put on and take off your shoes without all that unnecessary bending and exercise, hired Gilbert Gottfried, a man who's voice could make babies cry BEFORE they are born.

WARNING: If you watch this ad, just like anytime you hear Gilbert's voice on TV or in a movie, it will follow you around in your head for the remainder of the day or narrate your most haunting dreams.

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Weezer Snuggie is no joke

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 3rd 2009 7:20PM
If you're a fan of the band Weezer and the laziness empowerment blanket the Snuggie and have been hoping for a way to combine the two, you're in luck.

Weezer fans might have been curious to know why the band was wearing the popular blanket during last Friday's Late Show with David Letterman performance. The band has not only released a new line of the sleeved blanket, but they also have their own legitimate infomercial that tells you how you can buy the band's new CD Raditude and your own "Weezer Snuggie." WARNING: After watching this video, the phrase "Weezer Snuggie" will not leave your brain for at least the next three hours. Viewer discretion is advised.

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The Shake Weight is either the most erotic or hilarious exercise ad ever

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 29th 2009 3:30PM
Tuesday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart brought a pressing and shocking concern to my eyes, something the American people as a whole have largely ignored: the ridiculous ad for the Shake Weight.

Most exercise infomercials are already crazy and unintentionally hilarious in and of themselves, but this ad deserves the Mark Twain Prize.

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Discovery renews Pitchmen

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 15th 2009 12:04PM
PitchmenWhen Billy Mays died a couple of weeks ago, we were trying to figure out what exactly Discovery was going to do about their show Pitchmen. Would they cancel the show? Renew it with just Anthony Sullivan as the star? Try to find another pitchman (or woman)? Turns out it's going to be none of those things.

Instead, the show is going to continue with the addition of Mays' son, Billy Mays III. No word yet if the younger Mays will step into the co-host role with Sullivan or be involved in other ways, but I'm sure he'll have at least some on-screen role.

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Blue shirts honor Billy Mays

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 6th 2009 5:30PM
Billy Mays funeral

This isn't usually a blog with photos from funeral services, but I thought this one was appropriate for TV fans to see. Pallbearers at Billy Mays funeral the other day all wore blue shirts in a tribute to the commercial king.

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Today is "Wear Blue for Billy" day

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 29th 2009 9:08AM
Billy Mays - Wear Blue for Billy DayNews of someone's death always implants a little sadness in my brain, whether its the passing of a major celebrity or some innocent bystander who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Part of it is completely selfish. Someone's passing always reminds me of the frailty of human life and lets me know I'm always one less beer away from reaching the end of my time.

The other part is the projection of my own pain. We've all lost someone close to us and know what that pain feels like when our brain is scrambling to catch up with the reality of that loss. There is someone out there who has to deal with that same pain, whether the person who died was worthy of Catholic sainthood or the Bastard of the Year Award.

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ShamWow guy arrested

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 28th 2009 3:01PM
ShamWowYou'll never look at infomercials the same way again.

The ShamWow pitchman, whose real name is Vince Shlomi, was arrested in South Beach in Florida for getting into an altercation at a hotel. Seems that he paid $1000 for the services of a prostitute for an evening, and when he started to kiss her, she bit his tongue and wouldn't let go! So he started to punch her several times until she let go of his tongue. He ran to the lobby and had hotel workers call the cops.

It's not the first time the prostitute was arrested, but she's thinking about suing Shlomi for the incident. I guess she didn't love his nuts. Charges against both of them have been dropped.

This actually happened last month, according to The Smoking Gun, which has all of the details (of course), including Shlomi's mug shot. They even have an interview with the woman involved.

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TV Squad Ten: What I would get rid of in television

by Richard Keller, posted Feb 25th 2009 2:04PM

Television needs a hosing down. Here's ten suggestions to clean it up.Television as an industry is in need of a major overhaul. It's old, dusty, soiling itself, and not keeping up with the technology that changes from day to day. If it were an old, sick animal, or Larry King, it would probably be put to sleep. Alas, so many of us rely on the old biddy that it would be hard for us to say good-bye.

Luckily, I am a resourceful, intelligent and, dare I say it, gorgeous human being who has some ideas in mind to freshen up the television landscape. Yes, it may mean sacrifice from some of us (mainly network executives) and we may lose something in the process. But, in the end, the industry that we love to quietly despise while watching Cheaters will thrive once again.

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Obama coins hawked by Montel Williams a ripoff? Well... duh!

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 16th 2009 2:04PM
One of the most physically painful TV moments in our lifetime was having to watch poor Montel Williams sell the last remainder of his soul for worthless Barack Obama commemorative coins.

It seemed just yesterday that the talk show host with the Yul Brenner scalp was chumming it up on the daytime talk show circuit, interviewing women who love too much or husbands who love way too much with people other than their wives. It was like watching the rock-bottom moment of a man's life in the wake of his waning glory days without it airing on VH1.

Now a local action news station has blown the lid off these coins that Montel has reduced himself to hawking: they are a bigger gyp than Baywatch Nights.

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Billy Mays gets his own reality show

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 8th 2009 3:01PM
Billy MaysI was going to type this entire post in all caps, the way Billy Mays talks, but I thought that might be a little annoying.

Everyone's favorite informercial pitch man is getting his own reality show on The Discovery Channel. It's called But Wait...There's More, and will follow Mays and Anthony Sullivan as they find new products and pitch them to you.

Discovery also has other new shows coming up, including Out of the Wild, which will have suburban-dwellers trying to rough it in Alaska, and Working on the Edge, a movie spinoff of the popular Deadliest Catch series. You'll follow the adventures of a fishing boat in the Bering Sea.

But wait...there's more! Act now and you'll also get Swamp Blogging, which is about a tree logger. I'm not even sure what the hell blogging has to do with logging. Maybe it's a typo?

If this is a success, maybe we'll see a show with ShamWow guy Vince as a private eye.

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Montel Williams hawks worthless Obama coins

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 2nd 2009 12:06PM
Montel WilliamsI always had mixed feelings about Montel Williams and his now-defunct talk show. Sure, the show had its sleazy moments, but overall, he seemed to proceed in a more dignified way than most of his daytime talk brethren. I also admired him for his very public battle with MS and his advocacy to raise awareness of the disease. It seemed like Montel was set to transition to a post-show career that was at the very least not going to be embarrassing.

Then I saw him on an ad promoting one of those awful coins that commemorate Barack Obama's inauguration. You know which ones I'm talking about: they take a real (or semi-real) coin, dip it in gold, paint Obama's image on it, and claim that they're "rare" keepsakes that "comemorate" his historic inauguration, and will increase in value. So you basically pay some joint ten bucks plus shipping and handling to get a dollar or half-dollar coin that's worth... a dollar or half-dollar.

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TBS to try vaudeville...no kidding

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 5th 2008 12:06PM
TBS logoMemo to TBS: vaudeville is dead. Apparently, the folks at Turner never got that news flash. TBS has greenlighted a vaudeville pilot to be hosted by Harland Williams. The half-hour installments -- should it get picked up -- would be a late-night entry.

That means you'd have to be up late and probably pretty bored with infomercials to not surf away from the jugglers, puppets, plate spinners, gymnasts and other novelty acts likely on the program.

TBS is serious about this concept, tentatively called The TBS Comedy Roadshow, and if they emphasize the comedy aspect, maybe it'll find a niche. But the term vaudeville makes me very wary.

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Fox is putting infomercials where cartoons used to be

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 24th 2008 2:05PM
FoxIn an example of a changing economy and changing world, Fox will be putting infomercials in its Saturday morning time slot. They're even giving the slot a name: Weekend Marketplace.

It kind of makes sense. Unlike my own youth, children don't look to Saturday morning as the sole source of kid's fare. They only need to turn on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon or one of the plethora of Disney channels. Those channels are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For those interested in a historical look at the old Saturday morning cartoons, I recommend fellow Squadder Rich's articles on the subject.

There are already 24 hour infomercial channels (Home Shopping Network to name one), so Fox already has competition in that regard. However, Fox is a network and not just a cable station. It's an interesting experiment on the part of Fox and I'm curious if it will work out. Without the interest of kids, what will run on the networks on Saturday mornings?

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