Mark Burnett-produced show will star lifestyle guru
Martha Stewart has reunited with Mark Burnett to launch a new series.Stewart and Burnett will produce “Help Me, Martha,” an eight-episode unscripted skein. Project, which is being shopped to network buyers, was announced Thursday at the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia upfront presentation in Gotham. Hourlong show stars Stewart and a team of eight experts who will help the show’s subjects with everything from wedding near-disasters to planning last-minute parties. Burnett was cagey when asked about another reality project that he’s purportedly shopping — a series about Alaska featuring former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family. Pressed for details, he would only say: “Clearly, I like being around strong women.” Burnett’s latest pact with Stewart continues the relationship that stretches back to Stewart’s brief incarceration in 2004 and early 2005. Burnett helped rehab Stewart’s image via the launch of her daytime syndie strip “The Martha Stewart Show,” and also set her as host of a spinoff of “The Apprentice.” The Martha Stewart “Apprentice” only lasted one season, and the gabfest is being replaced by a new daytime Stewart talker for Hallmark Channel — in which Burnett will no longer be involved. But in announcing the Hallmark deal earlier this year, Stewart stressed that she would remain in business with Burnett — hence “Help Me, Martha.” “Help Me” tracks contestants nommed by friends through the “lifestyle makeover” process, starting when Stewart pays them a surprise visit to see what kind of work she has in store. “You should see their faces when Martha Stewart shows up on their doorsteps,” Burnett said. Show is not part of Stewart’s recent programming deal with Hallmark and does not yet have a network. Presentation took place at Stewart’s out-of-the-way Chelsea home base in an expansive area of a repurposed warehouse called the Clerestory (room was also the set for “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart”). White columns, white walls, white curtains, white ceiling, clear chairs and stemmed water glasses gave the impression that the meeting was being held inside an iPad. Prosecco was served post-presentation. The iPad was also featured prominently in the upfront: Stewart’s upcoming digital mag “Boundless Beauty” was showcased several times on the trendy device. The pub is slated to launch in late 2010. Stewart also touched on previously announced deals with Hallmark and discussed the org’s multiplatform approach, especially its popularity on Twitter. “I really want to get 2 million followers,” she said.