NY Daily News Article

The Good Buy Girls’: Life at a shopping network

By Don Kaplan
TV Editor
Posted on Jun 04, 2013 @ 02:00 AM
Tara Gray & Brook Roberts: Life At A Home Shopping Network-2
Brook Roberts and Tara Gray at work on TLC’s “The Good Buy Girls”

These ladies know how to close a deal.

Brook Roberts and Tara Gray are former pageant girls turned entrepreneurs. They run the nuts and bolts of the DSN home shopping network — buying merchandise, figuring out how to market it on TV, appearing on the air and sometimes even shipping the stuff out themselves.

“The Home Shopping Network was the first original reality show,” said Roberts. “Unscripted, live, in the moment. ”The two, who have worked in the field for more than a decade, say people have told them for years that someone should do a reality show about life behind the scenes at a shopping network.

“The Good Buy Girls.” debuting Wednesday on TLC (10 p.m.), is their answer.

“We want to pull a curtain back and show you what really goes on,” said Gray, adding: “The home shopping industry is a whole subculture that very few people know about.”Roberts said she and Gray believe in selling high-end products — up until recently, the California-based DSN specialized in expensive jewelry — but the economy just doesn’t support that anymore.

The pair persuaded Art, the network’s cranky owner, to let them try and sell items more accessible to the masses, like doggy treadmills, home spray-tanning systems, menopause pajamas and a line of protein products created by Fabio, the romance -novel cover model.

“Did we mention that we’re a struggling network?” said Gray. “We’re like a tiny tugboat pulling a huge barge very slowly — we’re a third-tier network.”

The women say the economic downturn forced the company to lay off about 90% of its employees, leaving them to do work typically handled by dozens.

“It’s not easy,” Roberts said.