Fans of Martha Stewart might be seeing more of ‘a good thing’ in the months to come. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Crown Media, owners of the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, are in “the early stages” of talks to convert one of the Hallmark channels into a Stewart channel- an attempt to create more of a lifestyle-geared network.
Stewart is already moving her syndicated TV show, ‘The Martha Stewart Show,’ to Hallmark in September. When news of the potential deal broke, bloggers were quick to voice their support and admiration for the cooking queen. One blogger on the Broadcasting & Cable website wrote: “I love Martha Stewart!! I have watched her from the beginning of her television debut and I, like many others, have learned many many things from her. Now that she is on the Hallmark channel, even if it is a rerun I will watch it all. Can’t get enough.”
Hallmark is gearing up for the move by airing seven hours of Stewart’s past programming each day, in addition to developing a series of specials throughout the year. In doing so, Crown Media hypothesized that gaining access to the entire Martha Stewart programming library might prove advantageous to further branding themselves as a lifestyle network and attracting advertisers, thus a second round of negotiations began to give Stewart her own cable network much like Oprah Winfrey.
Crown Media CEO Henry Schleiff stepped down in May 2009 and was replaced by Bill Abbott, who has been feverously working to overhaul the service and broaden distribution. With Crown focusing its efforts on more long-term success, it is thought that a financial partnership with MSLO could have a huge impact on value of their cable channels. Although executives for both companies told trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable that they were in preliminary talks for a partnership, spokespeople for both parties had no further comment.