According to Niemi, the fact that most merchandise sold out during the first season was really a tribute to the popularity and success of show.
Another innovative aspect added to the show this year is NBCU's recently announced partnership with Zeebox, an upstart second screen TV companion app founded in 2011 in the U.K. that is making its first foray into North America. With the Zeebox app, "Fashion Star" viewers will be able to get related content, additional program information, chat through social media and purchase products directly.
Niemi would like to extend the Fashion Star brand beyond the show year-round.
"We have relationships with great designers and they all have a point of view," she says. "The idea is that we could have stores or boutiques that show their fresh point of view and be a funnel for new and upcoming designers."
According to Joni Camacho, marketing director, NBCU TV CPG, there will be more extensive social media this season.
"Each retailer this year will have a 'Fashion Star' micro-site with expanded information of what's happening in the show, interviews with buyers, clips from the show, promotions and, of course, the clothing," Camacho says.
Another key part of NBCUniversal's licensing efforts, according to Kerry O'Donnell, director of global licensing, NBCU TV CPG, is "The Biggest Loser," now in its 14th season. This year finds fan-favorite fitness expert Jillian Michaels returning to the show after a two season hiatus.
"The Biggest Loser has become a platform to talk about what's going on with our health. It's not about diet; it's about taking care of yourself and taking care of this generation so we can take care of the next," says Niemi. "It has become a true brand that has the earned right and respect to address a very sensitive issue and really work toward saving lives."
NBCU TV CPG has developed innovative partnerships to extend The Biggest Loser property into a year-round brand juggernaut with fitness and nutrition products, as well as various events.
Consider the following:
■ The Biggest Loser website–NBCU TV CPG, in conjunction with Shine America, launched an enhanced website and online community last month. The new health and lifestyle site includes news and information from the brand's fitness philosophy and nutritional guidelines to events and products.
■ Resorts–There are now three The Biggest Loser resorts operating in Ivins, Utah, Malibu, Calif., and Niagara, New York, with several more resorts planned.
■ RunWalk events–Launched last fall, the race events, which features season five contestants Dan and Jackie Evans as national spokespeople, are now scheduled in more than 20 cities and growing.
■ Products–The line includes body wellness monitors from BodyMedia; exercise equipment from Jacobs Ladder and Cybex; workout DVDs; music CDs; video games; books; cookbooks; nutritional products; and bath and food scales.