If early negotiations prove fruitful, Martha Stewart may be headed to the helm of her own channel.
We told you Martha and the Hallmark Channel were already in cahoots, syndicating her daytime shows to the network.
Starting today, the channel is airing 7 hours of Martha-approved programming a day.
Now Hallmark's parent company is in talks to form a whole, new Martha-branded channel.
Broadcasting & Cable:
The rationale behind such a get-together is simple: Crown Media, which operates two programming services, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, wants to tap Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's digital expertise, while MSLO wants a bigger stake in the TV business. And if Oprah's getting her own channel, why not Martha?
Since she already has a stamp on nearly a third of Hallmark Channel's programming, why not give her an entire channel?
Joe Flint at the LA Times has 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?
The strange thing about the movements by Crown Media, according to B&C, is that "Hallmark is moving many of its made-for-TV movies to its sibling Hallmark Movie Channel and trying to attract younger viewers."
Since when has Martha, or her tastes, appealed to a younger crowd? (Ignoring her prison nickname M. Diddy.)
At this juncture, the Hallmark Channel is fighting declining ratings and debt has become a defining characteristic of Crown Media. A partnership with Stewart's Omnimedia might increase value of the company, but the idea that celeb-branded networks can be a success remains as yet unfounded.
For now, the deal is still "in the very early stages."