Martha Stewart New Shows: Fun, Witty, Ponchos and Hot Dogs

TV home craft diva Martha Stewart and producer Mark Burnett say the fun and witty Stewart is the person viewers will see in two new fall shows--the daytime syndication "Martha" and the NBC prime time "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart."

In a press conference, Burnett drove home the point that Martha is really "funny, warm, engaging, and witty." One taped piece, for the daytime show, showed Stewart working at a hot dog stand. "Martha loves hot dogs," said Burnett. "Mixing with the public makes it fun." Previous Stewart home craft shows featured mostly just Stewart in a small kitchen or a location with no studio audience.

"Martha" will be seen in 98 percent of the country, and debuts September 12. Both Mark Burnett and Martha Stewart have a tendency to use advertisers in the content of their shows in big branded entertainment deals that also include hefty media deals. MediaPost first reported ("'Martha' Inks Branded Entertainment Deals With GE, P&G, GM," August 8) that General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and General Motors will have major branded entertainment roles in the show.



Celebrities will be featured, but their identities have not yet been revealed. "I want guests to show us what they do when they are not being celebrities," said Stewart. Questions arose regarding whether Stewart would like her good friend, actress Jennifer Garner (from ABC's "Alias"), on the show. Stewart is interested, but didn't hope for anything soon, since Garner is pregnant.

Stewart says that "Martha" will be different than other daytime shows because guests, for the most part, will be doing things--not just sitting around. "It's not just a talk show," she says. "I think I've banned couches from the set."

Some special shows include one in which everyone in the audience will wear a poncho. This was inspired by a now-famous poncho crocheted for Stewart by a fellow inmate while she was in prison. More than a million people have downloaded the pattern, according to Susan Lyne, president and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Another special show will feature some 160 women named 'Martha Stewart'--and even some dogs by the same name.

For the prime-time show, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," little was revealed. The major question on journalists' minds was--how will Stewart fire people? Stewart and Burnett wouldn't say. But Stewart did say she doesn't like it, and couldn't remember saying it to anyone. The show was filmed over a period of seven weeks during the work-release portion of her home detention. Stewart's deputies on the show are her daughter Alexis, and MSO Chairman Charles Koppelman.

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