NEW YORK, May 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At an upfront presentation held today in New York, executives from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) unveiled the details surrounding the launch of the company's newest daytime endeavor featuring Martha Stewart. Premiering September 2005, the nationally syndicated program, entitled "Martha," has been cleared by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution in over 90% of the country and sold in all top 20 U.S. television markets and 50 of the top 50. Presenting the upfront were MSLO Founder and Martha Executive Producer Martha Stewart; MSLO President and CEO Susan Lyne; MSLO President of Television Heidi Diamond; and MSLO President of Publishing Lauren Stanich. Company executives were joined on stage by television producer Mark Burnett, executive producer of the new daytime series, and Martha co-executive Producer Rob Dauber. "This is our most ambitious television project to date and we are thrilled with the enthusiastic response from both the advertiser and affiliate community," noted Susan Lyne. "No other new daytime show has the bench of resources, breadth of talent and audience awareness. That very passionate connection consumers have with Martha and our lifestyle brand is what distinguishes us as a company. When combined with the cross-platform opportunities we offer, we're confident that Martha will be a draw for advertisers this fall." Commenting on the series, Martha Stewart said: "I have always been proud of our 'how-to' television programming -- it has always been informative, inspiring, well researched, beautifully presented and extremely trustworthy. These elements have consistently engaged and helped our viewers and our goal with this series is to raise the bar even higher. We will still mentor and teach and put strong emphasis on valuable information, but we are excited about taking a new approach with this series by including a live, participatory audience and guests who will surprise us with their homemaking skills." Mark Burnett, producer of NBC's hit reality series "The Apprentice," the upcoming, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and executive producer of Martha, added: "What sets Martha apart is her constant desire to make a difference in the quality of people's lives. She remains one of the most relevant and dynamic personalities of our time and we believe that television audiences will connect with her enthusiasm and passion as well as her great sense of humor, which will translate into terrific ratings success." "Martha" Features Entertaining Field Pieces, Celebrity Guests and Audience Interaction At the upfront presentation, advertisers were introduced to the series' Emmy-winning co-executive producer Rob Dauber, whose credits include "The Rosie O'Donnell Show". Mr. Dauber explained that Martha's mostly live format and casual, yet classically styled set will allow Martha to interact with her audience, which will appeal to her loyal fan base while introducing her to new viewers. The set will feature a kitchen island within a versatile swing-set for home segments such as cooking, gardening and crafts. Throughout the hour, "Martha" will combine entertaining field pieces, in-studio segments featuring celebrity guests and human interest segments where Martha can connect with people. The hour-long series will be taped in front of a studio audience at Chelsea Television Studios in New York City. Upfront attendees were also treated to a preview of a segment in which Martha visits a viewer at her home and helps get dinner on the table. "What will define this show is interactive and informative entertainment. We deliver interesting lifestyle information in a way that is fun, engaging and entertaining." He added: "Don't be surprised to see Martha cooking up a storm with a member of her studio audience or working the local hamburger or hotdog stand. We hope that by allowing Martha to participate with her fans in a bigger way viewers will find even more reasons to tune into the series." In addition to the majority of NBC owned and operated stations (representing more than 30% of the country), leading broadcast station groups including Hearst-Argyle, Gannett, Scripps-Howard, Albritton, Post-Newsweek, Belo, Freedom, CBS, Young, Clear Channel, Meredith and Milwaukee Journal are on board for "Martha's" debut this fall. Unique, Cross-platform Marketing Opportunities In addition, Heidi Diamond and Lauren Stanich spoke about how the company's magazines are perfect companions for its television series. Ms. Diamond said: "What we are able to do is integrate the content we create across all our media platforms, which truly distinguishes us from other media companies. Our information, inspiration and ideas begin in our award-winning publications which we in turn bring to life on television." Ms. Diamond also introduced the company's new head of television ad sales, industry veteran Liz Koman, noting that Liz's "extraordinary relationships and track record make her an invaluable asset to the team." Ms. Stanich added: "We are building unique brands at MSLO based on our strong bond with our consumers. They seek our high-quality, 'how-to' information because they rely on our experts for answers to their lifestyle questions and to help them enhance their daily lives." Programs such as "Everyday Food," currently airing in 80% of the country on PBS, have made smooth transitions to the small screen from their print counterpart. The weekly television series, offering quick, easy and practical solutions for preparing delicious everyday meals, brings to life Everyday Food magazine, the survival guide for home cooks that launched in October 2003. Each half-hour episode, featuring five individuals who all have cooked professionally in the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living, is designed to provide solutions to the challenges of everyday cooking and includes easy-to-make recipes along with smart tips and kitchen techniques. In addition to "Everyday Food" on PBS, the company has shown year-to-year growth with another syndicated series, "Petkeeping with Marc Morrone," up over 12% in ratings performance according to Nielsen. This is a program for pet lovers, providing fascinating yet practical 'how-to' information about pet care in the home. Distributed by Tribune Entertainment, the series is seen on 138 stations representing 92% of the country. About Mark Burnett Productions Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) is a leading production company in the world of primetime non-fiction television. MBP revolutionized television with hits such as Eco-Challenge, Survivor, The Apprentice, Contender and the upcoming CBS show to find the next lead singer of INXS. MBP also successfully reintroduced product placement as an integral part of each of its shows and has garnered a total of 24 Emmy nominations since 2001. Mark Burnett was listed as the #1 Most Valuable Player by TV Guide and also in Time Magazine's Top 100 most influential people in the world today. About NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution NBC Universal is a leader in providing entertainment programming to the domestic and international marketplaces. NBC Universal Television Distribution division is responsible for the global distribution of NBC Universal product to all forms of television throughout the world. This includes distribution of current and library film and television product, including formats and non-scripted programming, in the pay, free, and basic markets, as well as the domestic syndication of first-run syndicated TV programs and theatrical and TV movie packages. Current and upcoming first-run strip syndicated programming includes a new daily series with Martha Stewart, "Access Hollywood," "Blind Date," "The Jerry Springer Show," "Maury" and "Starting Over." Current and upcoming first-run weekly syndicated programming includes "The Chris Matthews Show," "The George Michael Sports Machine," "Rebecca's Garden," "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," "Your Total Health" and the off-network distribution of "Crossing Jordan," "Fear Factor," "Providence," the "Law & Order" franchise. Special programming includes "Good Housekeeping Reports" news inserts, a series of "The Remarkable Journey" specials, as well as a collection of feature film packages. About Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) is a leading provider of original "how-to" information, inspiring and engaging consumers with unique lifestyle content and high-quality products. MSLO is organized into four business segments: Publishing, Television, Merchandising, and Internet/Direct Commerce. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol MSO. We have included in this press release certain "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our current beliefs regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of our control. These statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "expects," "intends," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. The Company's actual results may differ materially from those projected in these statements, and factors that could cause such differences include: adverse reactions to publicity relating to Martha Stewart by consumers, advertisers and business partners; an adverse resolution to the pending SEC enforcement proceeding against Ms. Stewart arising from her personal sale of non-Company stock; adverse resolution of some or all of the Company's ongoing litigation; downturns in national and/or local economies; shifts in our business strategies; a loss of the services of Ms. Stewart; a loss of the services of other key personnel; a softening of the domestic advertising market; changes in consumer reading, purchasing and/or television viewing patterns; unanticipated increases in paper, postage or printing costs; operational or financial problems at any of our contractual business partners; the receptivity of consumers to our new product introductions; and changes in government regulations affecting the Company's industries. Certain of these and other factors are discussed in more detail in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," which may be accessed through the SEC's World Wide Web site at http://www.sec.gov. The Company is under no obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this release.
SOURCE Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia