NEW YORK — January 10, 2024 — FOX Nation, FOX News Media’s streaming service, has debuted a new three-episode series hosted by comedian Dennis Miller, entitled “The Infomercials That Sold Us,” announced Lauren Petterson, president of the platform. Premiering today, January 10, Miller will provide a nostalgic and poignant look back at the years when infomercials ruled late-night TV, featuring interviews with the colorful characters who made these ads so entertaining.
In making the announcement, Petterson said, “We’re excited to kick off 2024 with legendary comedian Dennis Miller guiding viewers through the early days of the infomercial phenomenon which played a pivotal role in the cultural zeitgeist of that era.”
Miller added, “I am very proud to be a part of this project. It’s easy to dismiss the Willy Lomans who hawked products on late night TV as nothing more than easy punchlines. But ‘The Infomercials That Sold Us’ shows us the humanity of these pitch people; who came from nothing and, armed with self-belief and perhaps a fine mop, made themselves wealthy and famous. It’s the ultimate American success story.”
Over the course of three episodes, Miller will walk viewers through the days when infomercials were lucrative, and all celebrities wanted in on the action. The docuseries will feature sit down interviews with Hollywood fan favorites including the late Suzanne Somers, who sat down for one of her last in-depth interviews prior to her passing in October 2023. Additional appearances are made by Tony Robbins, Brooke Burke, Melissa Rivers, Leeza Gibbons, Billy Banks, Vince Offer and many more.
Miller is best known for his critically acclaimed live talk show, “Dennis Miller Live,” which held a nine-year run on HBO from 1994-2002 and earned him five Emmy Awards and three Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards. He served as the color commentator for Monday Night football and was the “Weekend Update” anchor on Saturday Night Live for a total of six years. He also served as the host and executive producer of CNBC’s “Dennis Miller,” a topical interview talk show featuring reasoned discourse, opinion and humor. In December 2018, Miller released his ninth stand-up special, “Fake News, Real Jokes.” A New York Times best-selling author of four books, Miller has appeared in such films as “Disclosure,” “The Net,” “Murder at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and “What Happens in Vegas.”
Below are the episodic descriptions:
Episode 1: The Innovators
It all started in 1984, when the FCC lifted a rule limiting the amount of commercials stations could run in an hour. Little did they know, they were opening the door to charismatic salespeople taking over late-night TV, hawking everything from exercise equipment, self-help tapes, mops to quick-get-rich schemes. Some of the biggest names from that era; like Tony Little, Anthony Sullivan and Tony Robbins share their stories from the early days of the infomercial.
Episode 2: Shining Stars
By the early 1990’s, the infomercial business was in a crisis. Lured by easy money, a lot of scammers were flooding the airwaves. Greg Renker, an infomercial pioneer, describes how he saved the business by testifying before Congress and promising the business would clean up its act. A second sea change hit the infomercial business when established stars broke the long-standing taboo against doing TV ads and started cashing in on the craze. Early pioneers like Leeza Gibbons and Suzanne Somers describe how their gambles opened the door for huge names from George Foreman to Justin Bieber and Cindy Crawford joining the late-night sales wars.
Episode 3: Internet Killed the Infomercial Star
By the early 2000’s, late-night airtime was getting prohibitively expensive, and the infomercial airwaves were dominated by established stars with huge budgets. But there were a few unique salespeople who managed to make themselves rich and famous during that time. Brooke Burke, Billy Blanks and Vince Offer, better known as the ShamWow Guy, share their incredible rags to riches stories. By the early 2010’s, the golden age of infomercials was coming to an end; killed off by social media. Plus, a look at where some of the biggest stars of the golden age of infomercials are now.
FOX Nation is a direct-to-consumer on-demand streaming service designed to complement the FOX News Channel experience with a members-only destination for its most passionate and loyal super fans. Featuring nearly 10,000 hours of content, the subscription service includes lifestyle, and entertainment content, as well as historical documentaries and investigative series from a multitude of FOX News personalities at a cost of $5.99 a month/$64.99 a year. Morning Consult recently named FOX Nation as one of the top 10 fastest-growing brands of 2023 among Gen Z adults, with the platform placing in the top 15 overall. Launched in 2018, FOX Nation is available at foxnation.com and via app for iOS devices, Android devices, Fire TV, Apple TV, Google TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, FuboTV, Vizio TVs, and Samsung TVs, as well as DIRECTV, DIRECTV STEAM, YouTube TV, Comcast Xfinity, Cox Contour and The Roku Channel.
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