Crown Media Shares Get Boost


Wall Street seemed to embrace the debut of Martha Stewart's daytime show on cable Monday, at least for the Hallmark Channel. Shares of the network's parent, Crown Media, shot up nearly 12% -- even as the channel continues to be off the air in homes served by AT&T's U-verse service.

As Stewart's show, alongside programming influenced by the culinary and designer arts specialist began filling Hallmark's daytime hours, Crown's stock leaped 11.59% to $2.31 a share.

On the flip side, investors in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which controls the Hallmark programming, dropped slightly by .2% to close at $4.62.

Crown and AT&T have been locked in a dispute over how much AT&T will pay to offer the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel on its U-verse platform.

The two networks have been dark on U-Verse since Sept. 1. The launch of Stewart's high-profile offerings Monday was not enough to nudge the two sides into reaching an agreement.

Although more than 2.5 million U-verse customers could be affected, that is only about 3% of homes the Hallmark Channel is offered in. AT&T maintains that Crown is looking for a rate for Hallmark that is inconsistent with what it pays for networks with similar size.



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