Martha Stewart will star in a daily syndicated television show that will debut in fall 2005, her company said today.
Stewart, the currently imprisoned founder of
Martha Stewart Living
, will host the hour-long show, which will be recorded in front of a live audience. The show will be produced by
producer Mark Burnett and distributed by
NBC Universal Television Distribution.
The show will run on NBC's owned and operated stations, which cover about 30% of the national audience, according to Martha Stewart Living. The deal with NBC Universal is a multiyear agreement, the companies said. The companies did not give any financial details of the deal.
Shares of Martha Stewart Living rose sharply in advance of and following the announcement. In recent trading, the company's stock was up $1.58, or 6.9%, to $24.45. Earlier in the day, the company's shares traded as high as $24.95.
Martha Stewart Living announced a deal with Burnett in September to develop new television shows, including at least one centered on Stewart herself. But under the terms of the contract, Stewart will receive much of the upside from any shows involving her, including a retainer fee, a cut of gross rerun revenues and "talent" fees on top of her normal salary.
Stewart is serving a five-month prison sentence after being convicted on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to prosecutors. She's scheduled to be freed from prison in March, when she will begin serving a subsequent sentence of home confinement.
Her company has struggled since the news first came to light that she engaged in a questionable stock trade. In recent quarters, Martha Stewart Living has seen its revenue plunge and its bottom line dip sharply into the red as many advertisers have fled the company's media products.
Indeed, the company ceased production of its namesake syndicated television show earlier this year after Stewart's conviction. Prior to that, a number of networks and television stations had already decided to cancel the show or move it to unfavorable time slots.
Despite the downturn, many investors have been banking on a turnaround led in part by the company's relationship with Burnett. The company's stock has more than doubled since September.