Scripps Nets Lures Emeril to Shop at Home

Food Network super chef Emeril Lagasse will be bringing his cachet — and his self-branded wares — to Shop at Home, another Scripps Networks service.

The ebullient cook and celebrity restaurateur, who made “Bam!” his signature line, has signed an exclusive deal to host a variety of Shop at Home specials, as well as a regular weekly segment.

Scripps, parent of Food and Home & Garden Television, has been changing Shop at Home's merchandising mix, adding home-related and lifestyle-oriented goods such as accessories, furnishings, crafting and cookware.

“He's going to help us grow this whole category,” said Judy Girard, who was president of Food Network until she moved over to be president of Shop at Home in 2004, just after Scripps fully acquired it.

Lagasse, who once sold goods successfully on QVC, will do three live specials for Shop at Home, with the first premiering July 16, Girard said last week. The other specials are slated for September and November.

On From Emeril's Kitchen, Lagasse will demonstrate cooking products.

The weekly segments will be hosted by chefs trained by Lagasse, who'll also participate in the series through taped appearances.

“Both of us feel that home shopping has a very staid formula,” Girard said. “But it is a very specific formula of television, and we think that's kind of old.

“We think if you're going to play in the space as a newcomer, you've got to do a different form of television, and it's got to attract the audience of Home & Garden and Food … It's going to be a different challenge to see what kind of a template we can come up with.”

On Shop at Home, Lagasse will sell his own products, as well as those he picks from other vendors. He has more than 100 products bearing his name — ranging from food to pots and pans, to dinnerware and knives, to clogs — that are also sold at retail.

When he created HGTV, E.W. Scripps Co. CEO Ken Lowe said he always knew commerce would complement the network down the road. But Scripps decided not to take product placements on its networks to preserve its position as an unbiased information provider within its areas of expertise.

“Shop at Home allows us a platform to allow our personalities, with the permission of the audience, to sell their products, or to demonstrate products,” Lowe said.

HGTV personalities Joan Steffend and Carol Duvall have demonstrated and sold products on Shop at Home.