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Hallmark expands pact with Stewart

Cabler will run seven-hour daily block from homemaking diva

Hallmark Channel’s daytime block is about to go all-Martha, all-the-time.

The cabler has just expanded its deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which will provide a seven-hour daily block of programming for Hallmark beginning Monday, March 29.

Hallmark had previously pacted with MSLO to launch a new “Martha Stewart Show” on the channel this fall, as well as an additional block of as-yet unannounced programming. Now, moving beyond that initial deal, MSLO will program Hallmark’s daytime sked between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekends.

The lineup will include library programs that previously ran on networks such as Food Network and HGTV — “From Martha’s Kitchen,” “From Martha’s Home” and “From Martha’s Garden.” (Those shows, in turn, were repackaged segments from Stewart’s original daytime strip.)

Deal further moves Hallmark into the lifestyle business, where it will face off against Food, HGTV, TLC and the new Oprah Winfrey Network, among other outlets.

Hallmark Channels prexy/CEO Bill Abbott and MSLO executive chairman Charles Koppelman announced the new arrangement.

Hallmark will continue to run its original movies, specials, acquired series and “Hallmark Hall of Fame” titles in primetime and on the weekend.

“As we evolve our daytime lineup into a lifestyle and home orientation, this timeless content will serve as the ideal launch pad for and the perfect segue into the premiere of ‘The Martha Stewart Show’ in its new home,” Abbott said.

Other library titles that will eventually make it to Hallmark include “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone,” “Everyday Food,” “Martha Stewart Living” and various specials.

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