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Stewart, NBC sign distribution agreement for new series

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MUMBAI: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution today announced a multi-year distribution agreement that will bring Stewart back to television stations in a new nationally syndicated daily series starting in 2005.

The program has been sold to NBC-owned and operated stations, covering more than 30 per cent of the nation. The joint announcement was made today by MSO president and CEO Susan Lyne and NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker.

Producer of The Apprentice and The Contender Mark Burnett, will be the executive produce of the new daily Stewart television series. In September, MSO announced that it would collaborate with Burnett on new television programming opportunities. This is the first of these programs.

The hour-long show will be taped live with a studio audience and feature a new programming format that allows audience members and special guests to participate and interact with Stewart. Viewers will learn new ways to enhance their lives as audience members and even celebrity guests help Stewart unveil great ideas and new projects -- from cooking and entertaining, to decorating and home renovating, and more. The segments will be engaging, illuminating and fun, appealing to a broad audience of viewers.

"This is the first of several new initiatives at MSO that will have positive implications across the entire spectrum of our business," Lyne said. "The new format should appeal to Martha's loyal core audience, as well as a new generation of viewers interested in home and lifestyle. We are especially pleased to be teaming with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution and Mark Burnett. Mark's ideas for reshaping Martha's show have excited everyone at MSO, and the support of NBC's syndication arm will guarantee the program a broad national platform."

"I have known Martha since her days on Today and am thrilled to have her back in the NBC Universal family," said Zucker. "Martha is a proven winner across all media. The power of the brand is stronger than ever and a terrific addition to the NBC Universal Distribution portfolio. Martha is an incredibly appealing and engaging talent with an enormously loyal following. We look forward to working with Martha, Susan Lyne and Mark Burnett to bring the new program to millions of viewers next year."

"Martha has incredible value and enduring appeal. As the arbiter of taste, Martha teaches people in a practical, helpful manner how to include style in everyday living. Our new show will build on this Emmy-award-winning formula by incorporating more interaction, accessibility, vibrancy, and most importantly, humor. Together, I know we can create a show that breaks new ground in daytime, and bring new viewers to Martha's already strong base," said Burnett.

"The powerful brand recognition and the promise of high-quality programming will greatly appeal to local broadcasters. The program will provide many opportunities for both national and local advertisers. We anticipate a broad and successful distribution effort," stated NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution president Barry Wallach. "I worked with Martha in the early days of her TV career, so it is personally very rewarding to be partnering once again with Martha and her terrific team."

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