Miss, Apprentice
Show not warranting the hype

1. Let's Make a Deal

They really drive a hard bargain at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia ( MSO).

The lifestyle outfit got hammered Thursday after its latest pathetic quarterly performance . The publishing and merchandising company posted a third-quarter loss of $26 million on revenue of $40 million, and told analysts it expects, at best, a break-even fourth quarter.

But that's not the worst of it. No, Martha Stewart Living revealed that the latest-quarter loss included an $11 million charge related to the vesting of certain warrants granted in connection with the airing of NBC's The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

That may strike you as strange, given that the New York company has repeatedly described the Apprentice spinoff as "a show in which we have no economic interest." Instead, the show -- whose ratings haven't been up to snuff -- "provides great promotional value," the company claims.

Hmm, so Martha Stewart puts on a prime-time network reality show, and Martha Stewart Living gets no claim on the revenue -- but it does get to foot the bill for some stock handed out to entertainment business grandees?

Stock warrants, $11 million. Publicity on a show no one is watching? Priceless.

Dumb-o-Meter score: 91. We've got a bridge we can sell CEO Susan Lyne if she's interested.

To view Colin Barr's humorous video take on creative math with Martha, click here .

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