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In Need of a Wireless Mic or Food Dehydrator? He Was Your Guy

Infomercial icon and Ronco pitchman Ron Popeil dies at 86

(Newser) - In the darkest, wee-est hours of the nights of yore, when all the real TV programming ran out, there used to be something called infomercials: entire TV programs about people selling products that might be useful to you but that you probably didn't know you wanted. These immediate forebears...

$26.3M Settlement Possible in Hair Product Lawsuit

Those who suffered extreme reactions to Wen by Chaz Dean products could get up to $20K

(Newser) - A $26.3 million settlement has been given the preliminary green light in a class-action lawsuit by more than 200 women over what they say are damaging hair-care products—meaning around 6 million people may soon be richer for their tress troubles. An LA federal judge gave an initial OK...

Hillary Rolls Out Fake 'Trump U' Infomercial

It's part of Clinton's pivot to the general election

(Newser) - Want to attend Trump University? Well, it's currently shuttered and embroiled in two lawsuits claiming fraud at the school—allegations revived Saturday in a biting, fake infomercial by Hillary Clinton's campaign, Time reports. "Donald Trump is world-famous for making a fortune from being famous for having a...

Pitchman Behind Bars, but His Infomercials Play On

Kevin Trudeau still hawking dubious books on late-night TV

(Newser) - Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau is serving a 10-year sentence for fraud , but some of the commercials he stars in are still at large and can be seen on late-night TV across the country. In one ad still airing, he hawks a book called "Free Money 'They' Don't...

Diet Pitchman Gets 10 Years for Bogus Infomercials

Judge rejects weight-loss author's plea for leniency

(Newser) - If Kevin Trudeau wants to hawk his book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About, over the next 10 years, he'll have to do it from federal prison. The Chicago-based infomercial pitchman was sentenced to a decade in prison yesterday by a judge who...

Infomercial Pitchman Guilty of Lying in Ads

Kevin Trudeau taken into custody, faces years in jail

(Newser) - It took jurors about as long as one of Kevin Trudeau's infomercials to convict the TV pitchman of lying. A federal jury on Tuesday took all of 45 minutes to convict the 50-year-old resident of suburban Chicago of criminal contempt for telling tall tales about a weight-loss "cure,...

'Diet' Crystals Trying to Conquer World

They'll be available in 4 more countries; scientists skeptical

(Newser) - Scientists may be dubious about their actual benefits, but Sensa diet crystals are set to go global anyway, reports Slashfood . The products claims to make the scent of food—and therefore the flavor—more intense. The idea is that a more intense flavor will make dieters feel fuller after eating...

Station 'Forgets' to Air O'Donnell Infomercial

24-minute spot only shown online

(Newser) - Following the lead of President Obama's 2008 campaign, Christine O’Donnell has made a 24-minute campaign ad to show on the eve of the election—but the Delaware cable station her campaign paid to run it hasn’t done so, the Huffington Post reports. “The campaign bought the time...

JD Hayworth Starred in 'Free Gov't Money' Infomercial

McCain camp says ad was for 'obvious rip-off scam'

(Newser) - You have to love fiscal conservatives like JD Hayworth—you know, the kind who go on TV at 2am to tell you about the billions of dollars the federal government is just dying to give away. In 2007, soon after losing his House seat, Hayworth starred in an infomercial for...

Just in Time for Xmas: Weezer Snuggie
 Just in Time 
 for Xmas: 


Just in Time for Xmas: Weezer Snuggie

Act now! For a limited time only!

(Newser) - If you want to destroy Rivers Cuomo's sweater, he's down with that: The Weezer frontman would prefer to wear a Weezer Snuggie anyway, which he's hawking right alongside the band's new album. The stunt comes complete with an infomercial in which bandmembers parade around in their Snuggies—yours for only...

Top 5 Billy Mays Infomercial Wares
 Top 5 Billy Mays 

Top 5 Billy Mays Infomercial Wares

(Newser) - Many of the As Seen on TV goods hawked by the late Billy Mays were reviewed in the pages of Popular Mechanics; Harry Sawyers runs down the bellowing talent's top five infomercial products.
  1. Hercules Hook: A heavy painting and a sack of books were no match for a hollow-wall anchor

Mays Autopsy Shows No Drugs, No Trauma

(Newser) - Initial autopsy results suggest that infomercial celebrity Billy Mays died of heart failure, the medical examiner announced today. The autopsy didn’t reveal any head trauma or drug abuse, both rumored causes of the 50-year-old's death, but did find hardening of his arteries, the St. Petersburg Times reports. He was...

Infomercial Icon Mays Dead at 50

TV Pitchman wasn't wearing a seatbelt: FAA

(Newser) - Television pitchman Billy Mays was found dead in his Tampa, Fla., home today, the St. Petersburg Times reports. He was 50. The promoter of everything from baking soda to cleaning supplies said he felt unwell last night after landing in a 737 airplane that blew out a front tire. Mays...

ShamWow Guy's Other Claim to Fame: Ex-Scientologist

Infomercial pitchman used group connections to make comedy film

(Newser) - Vince Offer Shlomi, the ShamWow pitchman who gained infamy after being arrested for badly beating a prostitute last month, is also a renegade ex-Scientologist, Gawker reports. Shlomi joined group in 1982, made connections with Scientology’s many entertainment-industry adherents, and found financing to start filming The Underground Comedy Movie, featuring...

ShamWow Guy Arrested After Hooker Fight

Pitchman Shlomi allegedly punched call girl repeatedly

(Newser) - He may seem like a nice man with a magical towel, but Vince Shlomi—better known as the ShamWow guy—was arrested last month for punching a prostitute, the Smoking Gun reports. Shlomi, 44, told police he took 26-year-old Sasha Harris back to his hotel room and paid her $1,...

In Tough Times, Celebs Seek Out Infomercials

Expect to see more stars in late-night ads

(Newser) - With the economy tanking, it may not be long before you see high-profile stars hawking ShamWows or Slankets, the New York Post reports. “Celebrities who were once appalled at the idea can’t afford to be quite as picky,” says the author of a home-shopping business book.

Tough Times Put Cheap Ads in Prime Time

Low airtime costs offer big audience to low-budget spots

(Newser) - The recession has pushed TV advertising rates to a relative pittance, and that’s great news for tools like the PedEgg—a callous remover—and the Snuggie—a blanket with sleeves. Though it may hurt shows’ profiles, “Act Now!” infomercial-style ads have recently broken into primetime, the Washington ...

Slankets and Snuggies: The Mockable Sells
Slankets and Snuggies:
The Mockable Sells

Slankets and Snuggies: The Mockable Sells

The pitch ripe for irony, sells more than a blanket

(Newser) - Parodied by YouTube videos and mocked by Jay Leno, the blanket with arms known as the Slanket—or its knockoff the Snuggie—is getting a lot of attention for a useless invention, writes Dara Lind for Culture11. As Leno points out, “It’s like wearing a bathrobe backwards,"...

Obama Spot Snags 22% of Viewers

Buying time on all networks but ABC still misses most in major markets

(Newser) - Just about a fifth of watchers in big US media markets tuned in to last night’s Barack Obama infomercial, even though the spot aired on four of five major networks, the Chicago Tribune reports. The highest ratings were in Baltimore, where a little less than a third of families...

Mixed Reviews for the 'O Show'
 Mixed Reviews for the 'O Show' 
Pundit Roundup

Mixed Reviews for the 'O Show'

Some did, some didn't, making a headline tough to write

(Newser) - Barack Obama's half-hour TV pitch scored with writers on the left—though one found it embarrassing to admit to being seduced by an infomercial—while those on the right were turned off:
  • Saying it was hardly the "gauzy, feel-good commercial," McCain labeled it in advance, John Nichols of

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