Domestic diva uses reality format for yakker skein
NEW YORK — Martha Stewart’s daytime talk skein is looking a lot like a reality show, with the domestic diva visiting fans — unannounced — to help cook dinner or to bring them to New York City for surprise interior design makeovers.
Details of “Martha,” which will be produced by reality guru Mark Burnett and shot at Chelsea Television Studios, were disclosed during a boisterous upfront presentation for potential advertisers in Gotham.
It’s looking increasingly likely that “Martha” will be one of two Burnett-produced series starring Stewart on NBC in the fall. “Apprentice: Martha Stewart” is in production, as well as another season starring Donald Trump. One will air in the fall.
A Stewart-produced cooking show based on the checkout title “Everyday Food” premiered on PBS last year.
Stewart, Burnett and NBC are betting heavily on the public’s deep and continuing interest in Stewart and all three are working hard to package her as a curious, caring person with a sense of humor — even about herself.
Stewart opened her presentation showing off a pair of gold clogs, calling them her “lucky shoes,” but said, “there’s something underneath, which I’m not going to show you,” alluding to the paparazzi who’ve been scrambling to land a photo of her electronic ankle monitor.
Stewart finished serving five months in federal prison in March for lying about a stock trade.
As proof that Stewart is capable of the unscripted funny moment, Burnett showed a blooper tape from her syndicated show. It showed her lose control of a speeding Mixmaster, mishandling an exploding bottle of champagne, and being pulled to the ground and dragged while trying to hold on to a spooked calf.
“You’re going to see a new Martha Stewart, one you’ve never seen before,” said co-producer Rob Dauber.
In addition to the surprise visits to stunned families, the show will have a heavy celebrity element. Stewart proposed cooking with Tom Hanks and riding a bicycle with Robin Williams. One of the new staff members is a former “Today” show booker.
Other segments proposed are: “Martha’s Scholars,” following underprivileged kids and helping to pay for their education; “America’s Worst Cooks,” where Stewart brings the offender to Gotham for lessons; and a segment for homemakers who want to start their own businesses.
The syndicated show, distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution, has been picked up by NBC affiliates covering 92% of the country.