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Is this a good thing? Crown Media mulling Martha Stewart channel

It sounds like a good thing, but we're not so sure.

Crown Media, parent company of the Hallmark Channel, is apparently in talks with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart about creating a new lifestyle cable network for her. According to Broadcasting & Cable ace Claire Atkinson, Crown is in very preliminary discussions with Stewart's Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia about such a venture. Martha Stewart

Here's a better idea. Just give her the Hallmark Channel to run. Stewart is practically taking over the network anyway, and it already has mass distribution. Why go through the hassles of trying to launch a new channel, which will struggle to get carriage on cable and satellite systems?

As Atkinson notes, starting today, Stewart will be responsible for practically one-third of Hallmark's programming. The cable network, which was on the block for years but couldn't find any takers, has struggled to make a name for itself and has gone through some pretty high-profile executives in the process, including Henry Schleiff and Margaret Loesch.

Ratings for the Hallmark Channel have taken a dive. As Company Town noted last week, in the first quarter of 2010, its audience fell by 34%.

Part of the challenge for Hallmark is trying to attract a wealthier audience. For a while, it had some decent ratings with mainstream family programming, but that did not necessarily translate into big ad dollars. It also is at a disadvantage when it comes to distribution fees. It doesn't get the same rates as channels that have similar ratings but are owned by bigger media conglomerates such as Viacom and Walt Disney Co.

Getting into business with Stewart was smart for Hallmark. Certainly Martha Stewart is a big brand with a following. Since she is already programming seven hours of the channel, just give her the other 17. It'll be a lot cheaper in the long run than trying to start a whole new network.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Martha Stewart. Credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (8)

I am extremely dissappointed to see this programming change on the Hallmark Channel. Martha Stewart has no business on this family channel. My children were extremely dissappointed to come home from school to find out they cannot watch "Seventh Heaven" or "Little House on The Prairie". I dislike her monotone versions of cooking and crafts, etc. And this network has given her a 7 hour block of time!!!! This is not family program to me! Take her off! I will not watch her and I have emailed and phoned all my friends who are also greatly dissappointed Hallmark Chanel has made this move. Sincerely, M. McKee Lily, KY

This is so bizarre. She barely mentioned it on her show last week, then this week's tv guide has her re-hashed reruns all over Hallmark. Who wants to watch that @#$%?

A Martha channel would be just too much of a "good thing."

I liked the Hallmark channel and the movies. But I do not like Martha Steward at all and will no longer watch Hallmark . You have lost most of the male audience by putting that many hours of Martha Steward on.

Re: Robert.. they may have lost the male viewers, but they've gained the gays :)

PLEASE!!Don't do this to Hallmark!Half an hour of Martha Stewart would be plenty.Hallmark has always been my favorite channel,especially with so much smutt on so many of the others.It is not fair we have to pay for so many channels we never watch.

Who are they kidding? Martha Stewart is a criminal! And i cant even stand to look at her, much less watch a whole show with her hosting it! She is not worth all the viewers hallmark will lose by promoting her. And then they want more money for her??? Get real. I will place my loyalty elsewhere rather than watch any of hallmarks shows after this stunt over that idiot witch any day!!!

Martha Stewart has paid her dues for the stock sentencing. My problem is I don't have cable TV because most of it sux. I won't get to watch Martha now.

P L E A S E! Eight hours of Martha?
She is so rude and disrepectful of her guests and such a know it all.
I always counted on Hallmark to have entertaining shows and
as long as SHE is on, I will not watch or support any of the
Hopefully on weekends you will have decent shows.
So sorry for your decision. It was sure the wrong one.
24/7 of LUCY was enough, but now, this???
Everyone counted on you to entertain us.


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