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Martha Stewart draws CBS renewals

King World's Martha Stewart Living has been renewed in 60% of the U.S. for the 2002-2003 season on several CBS O&O stations.

The show has never been a ratings standout - last season it averaged a 1.5, placing it in last place among the 10 surviving talk shows. But advertisers can't get enough of Martha Stewart because "as a multi-media presence, she's accepted by women throughout America.

"That's an implied endorsement of your product," says Initiative Media's Howard Nass, speaking to her roles on TV, managing a magazine and pitching K-Mart items. He also says Martha is more content-friendly than other bolder series that may be higher rated, like Jerry Springer or Jenny Jones.

King World CEO Roger King called Martha Stewart "one of the most recognizable brand names in daytime," when announcing the renewals, which include WCBS-TV New York, KCBS-TV Los Angeles and WBBM-TV Chicago.

Debuting in September 1993 as a weekly syndicated program, Martha became a daily half-hour in 1997, and shifted to a one-hour strip format in January 1999.
- Susanne Ault