Hallmark Replaces Martha Stewart With Marie Osmond
New York Post
by Claire Atkinson and James Covert
January 26, 2012
Martha, meet Marie.
The Hallmark Channel is replacing “The Martha Stewart Show,” the domestic diva’s flagship TV property, with a new daily show fronted by veteran song-and-dance entertainer Marie Osmond.
Hallmark is close to finalizing a deal with Los Angeles-based ATI, which is producing Osmond’s new show.
“While we’re still in discussions with Marie, we’re extremely excited about the prospect of Marie Osmond joining the Hallmark family,” said a spokeswoman for Hallmark. “We think she’s perfect for our brand and we’ll share more news when we have a deal.”
The Post reported earlier this month that, after the current season, Hallmark would cancel Stewart’s show — one of several her company produces for the cable network.
The future of her other programs, including “Martha Bakes” and “Emeril,” is up in the air as Hallmark and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia are still in discussions.
Hallmark ended the Stewart show in part because of high production costs, including an expensive studio lease in Manhattan that expires in the spring. MSLO has also been shopping the domestic diva and new show concepts to other TV outlets.
An MSLO spokeswoman declined to comment.
Meanwhile, “Marie,” which will feature cooking segments, celebrity chats and typical talk-show fare, will debut in September. Osmond’s last big TV outing was during her turn as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Osmond, who has a show in Las Vegas with brother Donny and is a spokeswoman for Nutrisystem, has already fronted a daytime show that was canceled in 2000.
Hallmark’s decision to end Stewart’s show is a poor start for MSLO President and COO Lisa Gersh, who is trying to get the company’s financial house in order.
MSLO is already facing a lawsuit from Macy’s that seeks to block her housewares licensing deal with rival retailer JCPenney.
Wearing skintight black leggings and a short white jacket, the 70-year-old Stewart attended a media event yesterday to boost JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson and his plan to make over the sagging retail chain.
There’s also bad blood between Gersh and Stewart’s pet expert Marc Marrone, who abruptly quit after someone forwarded an e-mail from Gersh that asked, “Who is this guy, Marc Marrone?”
Marrone, who has been a regular on Stewart’s TV show for years, was taken aback that Gersh, who’s been on the job for nine months, didn’t know who he was. A source familiar with the incident explained that since Marrone is not an MSLO employee, his e-mail address was unfamiliar to her.
The Post reported yesterday that Marrone left after a “slip of the tongue” from someone in upper management who didn’t apologize.