Annapolis crowd embraces QVC show

Shopping program goes on the road, and fans flock to see it live

July 20, 1999|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

On Annapolis' historic City Dock yesterday, chipper hosts for a cable network shopping show hawked folding chairs, funnel cake mix, "Buffalo Milke" instant spray car wax, and a fold-away space shuttle toy one viewer called in to proclaim "the best thing since peanut butter."

QVC Inc., a West Chester, Pa.-based 24-hour shopping network that claims to reach more than 70 million households, filmed a live show in the state capital, drawing a mostly female crowd of 200 who showed up armed with cameras, questions -- and credit cards.

At the end of the three-hour broadcast that began at 7 a.m., fans -- who cheered at every mention of Annapolis, ate up each enthusiastic product demonstration, then lined up for autographed pictures of the show's two hosts -- mostly agreed that they'd had a great time.

"Everything I own is from QVC," said Annapolitan Jackie Bohanan, flashing a blue topaz ring and matching bracelet and pointing to her QVC T-shirt from the network's 1997 filming trip in Chestertown. "I watch it about two to three hours every day, and I tape it sometimes. It's fun to watch them tape the show. I took the day off, and I've been up since 3 o'clock just to be here."

Cheryl A. Trecoske, QVC senior publicist, said network officials decided about a month ago to film in Annapolis. Since 1995, QVC has been filming specials in at least 25 cities a year, taking a morning show to such places as Las Vegas, Atlanta and Los Angeles. The network had filmed in Maryland five times -- four in Baltimore and once in Chestertown. This was the show's first trip to Annapolis.

"Annapolis is the perfect backdrop for a summertime show, where we sell a wide variety of summertime products like grills," Trecoske said. "It's also great that it's known as America's sailing capital. This is great exposure for the city."

City officials couldn't be more delighted over the QVC visit. Wandering around the set yesterday morning, Mayor Dean L. Johnson said he's never bought anything from the network but was a fan nonetheless.

"It brings us more business," Johnson said. "And it showcases the community."

Peggy Wall, president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau, worked with QVC, arranging for a portion of City Dock to be blocked off for the morning and pinpointing sites for filming Annapolis footage. In exchange, she got to pose with a portable deck chair for the program and was given 30 seconds of air time to sell Annapolis.

"The entire three hours has been like a running ad," said Wall, marveling at the many shots of sailboats and historic buildings that peppered the broadcast. "This has tremendous advertising value that we wouldn't have been able to pay for."

The filming also had tremendous value for QVC fans, who relished seeing hosts Dan Hughes and Pat James-DeMentri and getting a look at how the show is filmed.

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