Hallmark Channel has signed a multi-year strategic partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to exclusively air original episodes of her daytime lifestyle series "The Martha Stewart Show" in September.
MSLO founder Martha Stewart called the alliance "a perfect fit." Her company will also create a range of new and original series and prime-time specials for the Hallmark Channel. In 2010, Hallmark will produce 24 original movies.
At 10 a.m. this fall, "The Martha Stewart Show" kicks off a weekday two-and-half-hour block of original MSLO programming for Hallmark showcasing experts and personalities from within MSLO. Holiday and interview specials will be added to the prime-time schedule.
"This is a match made in TV heaven," stated Bill Abbott, president and CEO, Hallmark Channels, noting that the "creative programming, branding and advertising opportunities this partnership presents are limitless."
Charles A. Koppelman, executive chairman of MSLO, added: "The new relationship builds our broadcast strategy, greatly extends our media platform and reach, and we anticipate will have a positive impact on our business."
"The Martha Stewart Show" is in its fifth season and is currently distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television.
One impetus for the new partnership: It was harder for the show to get consistent daytime periods in syndication, said Koppelman in a press conference about the deal.
For its syndication run, TV stations were increasingly destined to move the show to more overnight or other time periods starting next year.
In the press conference, Martha Stewart said one of the key elements of the Hallmark deal was that her show would air at 10 a.m. in all markets across the country. Plus, it would be re-aired at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Hallmark. In syndication, TV shows have multiple time periods, depending on the market.
Hallmark executives would not discuss deal points for the show. But in keeping with many TV programming deals, many executives assume MSLO and Hallmark have some sort of ad-share arrangement, with little or no cash exchanging hands.
In syndication, the majority of shows are dealt to stations on a barter basis, where there is no cash license fee. Stations typically get half the advertising inventory to sell locally; the producer keeps half to sell to national advertisers.
In addition to "The Martha Stewart Show," MSLO offers TV shows aired elsewhere, including "Everyday Food" on PBS and "Whatever, Martha!" on the Fine Living Network. Upcoming programs include "The Emeril Lagasse Show" on ION Television.
Hallmark Channel is a cable television network owned and operated by a subsidiary of Crown Media Holdings.