Capitalizing on Cooper

Dec 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The hawking of news personalities rises (or sinks) to a whole new level with the appearance of a Web page in The Turner Store dedicated solely to promoting and monetizing the anchor-correspondent of “Anderson Cooper 360” via merchandise emblazoned with Mr. Cooper’s name.

The range of stuff for sale is a bit scary: a nine-piece traveling gym set ($49.99), pastel T-shirts with “Anderson Cooper 360” against a heart that’s filled with a globe-like grid ($16.99), T-shirts with “actual quotes” heard on “360” ($19.99) and a USB memory pen ($64.99), to name but a few.

The Fox News Shop online reads like a J. Peterman catalog (or a “Seinfeld” Peterman takeoff). It offers a lot of standard options, including twill baseball caps-the hat for business anchor Neal Cavuto’s “Your World” guarantees “The owner will two-putt every green (not really).” The black T-shirt ($17.95) for “Fox Report With Shepard Smith” is “as worn in the field by Shep” (The Insider dearly hopes they’ve at least been rinsed out).

Among the standouts: the “Fox and Friends” BBQ grilling mitt ($9.71) that “handles hot stuff with confidence” and the “No Spit Zone” onesie for toddlers ($9.95) that comes with the promise that “No-Spin-Zoner” Bill O’Reilly “won’t be offended.” The motifs on ties are inventive. The O’Reilly tie has a repeating design of a big fish eating a small fish “for the pure Darwinist at heart.”

The broadcast networks offer mostly safe selections of caps, mugs, cookbooks and such with the names of news shows on them.

An exception: a bobble-head Jim Cramer doll that spouts “Mad Money”-isms such as “Booyah!” and “Are You Ready SkeeDaddy?” at the push of a button. Alas, “Booyah Bobble-Head” and red bull squeeze toys like those Mr. Cramer tosses on his CNBC show are not obtainable for Christmas. Visitors to NBCuniversalstore.com can amuse themselves by playing the Cramerisms or settle for a copy of one of Mr. Cramer’s books (which are available for shipping right now. Buy Buy Buy!!!)

Sometime next spring, a bobble-head Keith

Olbermann is expected to be launched, along with a mug and T-shirt bearing the logo of the increasingly popular cranky/comedic anchor of MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann.”

The Insider has suggestions for other news-realm merchandise that could sell like the proverbial hotcakes.

Add a T-shirt to the “Countdown” collection that’s says “My Sister Had a One-Time-Only Fling With Keith Olbermann and All I Got Was This Lousy TShirt.” Or, for NBC Universal insiders, a tee or hat that says “Dan Who?” If you don’t immediately get these punch lines, you flunk Gossip-Page 101.

How about Rita Cosby Lozenges?

Or bile bottled fresh after every “Nancy Grace” show on Headline News? Or a tee that says “I Hired Nancy Grace’s Image Resuscitator and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt”? Nancy Grace Triple-Strength Hair Spray and a pocket-sized rat-tail teasing comb (Diamond Tip Guaranteed to Draw Blood!)?

The Insider could go on an on (big blue Jack Cafferty Downers?), but she’s going to invite suggestions from readers instead.

Send them to mgreppi@tvweek.com. Send as many as you want. Keep ’em short and to the sharp point. We’ll print the ones the lawyers and tastemakers allow.

It’ll be fun. And it’ll help The Insider fill a holiday-challenged column.

Bill O’Reilly Loofahs, anyone?