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Morning headlines: The hazards of flame retardant, overdosing on laundry detergent, Martha on the move

January 27, 2010 | 10:23 am

Home and garden news of the morning:

L.A. Times staff writer Shari Roan reports that another study has linked chemicals used as flame retardants to reduced fertility in women. You can find the full article here. A snippet from Roan's story:

PBDEs have been used as flame retardants for four decades and are found in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets and plastics. The chemicals are being phased out nationwide, and certain PBDEs have been banned for use in California. But they are still found in products made before 2004. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states because of the state's strict flammability laws, according to the study authors, from UC Berkeley.

MethodLaundry The Wall Street Journal blows out the big news that we're overdosing our laundry with detergent. Here's the link and a preview:

The latest generation of detergents are concentrated and so require users to use less product-per-washload than ever before. And more consumers are buying high efficiency washers, which need far less water than older models. It's a combination begging for more careful measuring -- something Americans stubbornly resist.

And from the Associated Press comes news that Martha Stewart will be taking over a block of programming time on the Hallmark Channel. Full story after the jump ...

-- Craig Nakano

Photo: Method recently sent the Home staff samples of its new laundry pump, which dispenses detergent in a clever new way: two squirts for small loads, four squirts for medium loads, six squirts for large loads or your grimy child laundry. The pump idea is brilliant; verdict is still out on how well the detergent actually cleans. Credit: Method

Martha Stewart is headed to Hallmark Channel

Martha Stewart doesn’t quite have her own television network like Oprah Winfrey, but the Hallmark Channel is giving the household style maven control over a chunk of its daytime lineup.

Stewart’s weekday program, currently syndicated to various broadcast channels across the country, will move to the Hallmark Channel in September, the network and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. announced on Tuesday.

“The Martha Stewart Show,” starting its sixth season this fall, will air at 10 a.m. each weekday. The show will be rerun each day at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Stewart’s production company will be responsible for 90 minutes of additional programming that will air following the first run of her show.

Stewart said the deal was in the works before Winfrey announced in November that she will leave her syndicated show in 2011 to concentrate on OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, her joint venture with Discovery Communications Inc.

“It just reinforced our desire to have a real home for our programming,” Stewart said.

Through syndication deals, Stewart is at the mercy of local stations that air her program at different times across the country. The chance to have a uniform start time — three uniform start times, if you count the reruns — was particularly attractive, said Charles Koppelman, executive chairman of Martha Stewart Living.
 Hallmark is available in nearly 90 million of the nation’s 115 million homes with television; Stewart’s syndicated show now can be seen in about 10 million more homes.

For Hallmark, the deal offers the chance to establish itself as Stewart’s home base and beef up a daytime programming schedule filled with old movies, “Golden Girls” reruns and Jack Hanna animal specials. It’s particularly important given that many television networks are essentially giving up on spending much money on fresh daytime shows, said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of the Hallmark Channels.

“We see a choice opportunity to own this segment in the lifestyle area and in daytime,” he said.

Neither side would discuss the financial parameters of the deal.

Stewart and Winfrey’s deals do not necessarily mean television’s syndication model is breaking down, said Bill Carroll, researcher for Katz Television.

“I do not anticipate an exodus to cable of the successful shows on broadcast,” Carroll said. “It is still the primary way to reach the largest audience possible.”

The new programs will be in the same lifestyle, household hints and cooking areas in which Stewart specializes. One possibility: “Whatever, Martha,” the series in which Stewart’s daughter pokes fun at her. The show has a deal with the Fine Living Network that expires in June.

It won’t be an exclusive deal, however. MSLO produces “Everyday Food” for PBS and is making a show with chef Emeril Lagasse for ION Television.

Stewart will also be making four one-hour prime-time specials for Hallmark. The corporate sister of the greeting card company wants to establish itself as a destination for programs related to different holidays.
 Stewart’s company retains control of its backlog of old programming. She said she’s looking to be more aggressive making this old material available online.

-- David Bauder / Associated Press

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