Jewelry Television Keeps Shop Net Alive

Jewelry Television has given new life to Shop At Home, agreeing to buy the network for $17 million from E.W. Scripps Co. and to continue operating the service on a part-time basis.

Jewelry TV last week acquired the Nashville, Tenn.-based network’s assets and intends to assume the channel’s carriage deals with television stations, cable operators and satellite providers.

Scripps had acquired Shop At Home in two transactions, totaling $285 million, in 2002 and 2004. As a result of the sale, Scripps said it expects to record an after-tax charge of between $35 million to $45 million, compared to the previously anticipated charge of up to $60 million.

At stations and cable systems where Shop At Home is carried now, the plan is for Jewelry Television to air during the day on those channel slots, with Shop At Home running from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., a Jewelry Television spokesperson said.

Scripps, after initially failing to find a buyer for Shop At Home, had planned to pull the plug on the channel last week. Now Shop At Home will continue to operate the scaled-down network from its current headquarters.

“After careful consideration we have decided that keeping Shop At Home on the air in a reduced capacity is a winning situation for all involved,” Jewelry Television chief operating officer Joe Fields said in a prepared statement. “We will be able to retain a significant number of Shop At Home employees in their current positions, as well as hiring others for positions with Jewelry Television in Knoxville [Tenn.].”

Jewelry Television is offering jobs to about 140 of Shop At Home’s 660 employees. Those 140 will still be eligible to receive severance packages from Scripps.

Jewelry Television will get Shop At Home assets including its building and real estate, satellite uplink facilities, information technology systems, call center, Web site and production facilities.

The transaction doesn’t include five Shop At Home affiliated TV stations Scripps owns and plans to sell. But in the meantime, those five stations will air a combination of Shop at Home and Jewelry Television programming.

Jewelry Television is forming a new company to operate Shop At Home, called Shop At Home Network LLC, that it will have a controlling interest in.

Former Shop At Home president Tim Engle will rejoin the network as president and will report to the Shop At Home Network board. Most recently, Engle was CEO of Beach Renovations Inc.