Live Shopping Host Realizes Guest Isn't Ready for His Close Up

by Mel Arthur on Feb 5, 2015 2:30:00 AM ERA 25th Anniversary

Live_Shopping_Host_Realizes_Guest_Isnt_Ready_for_His_Close_Up-966680-editedAs part of our “Memory Lane” series commemorating ERA’s 25th anniversary, industry veteran Mel Arthur shares one of his funniest industry memories.

When I was a host at HSN, we would meet with our show guests in the Green Room. This night, my first item was some type of universal remote control. Let’s call the guest ‘Bob’ (the names are changed to protect the innocent—or, in this case, the guilty). As soon as I walked in, Bob grabbed my hand and told me how excited he was to be on with me. His dream was to be a prime-time host on HSN. He said that together, we were going to "Kill them," and that his item would be the highlight of the day. As many guests back then were a bit shy, this was a pleasant relief to find someone confident and aggressive.

“I opened the show as usual, and Bob walked out onto the set and stood to my left. I gave his item a big introduction and then introduced him as our presenter and said, "Bob, tell us more about it." I turned to see a man frozen in time. ‘A deer in the headlights’ would have been a compliment. He could not utter a single word. To make matters worse, he looked as if someone had dropped a 20-gallon water balloon on his head. The sweat was pouring of his face like a waterfall, and the aforementioned crisp blue shirt had two giant black rings under his arms. All of this happened in a matter of seconds. If you have ever seen the flopsweat scene in the movie Broadcast News with Albert Brooks, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

“Unfortunately, Bob barely uttered an intelligible sound for his three minutes on the air. This was like life imitating art. Sadly, there was no Academy Award nomination for Bob as there was for Albert Brooks, and he and his item were never seen or heard from again. And afterward I thought, "My job is safe—at least for one more night.”

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Mel Arthur is president and chairman of As Seen On TV.US Inc.

Note: The above blog post was adapted from the article by Michele Wojciechowski entitled "Giving 'Em the Business" published in ER magazine's December 2013 issue. To read the full article, click here.

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