Now that home and garden diva Martha Stewart has finally been indicted by the
Securities and Exchange Commission and Stewart has stepped down as chairman of
the company she founded, the question remains: What happens to her syndicated TV
Distributor King World Productions had no comment, but the show already has been declining in
ratings all year.
After the May sweeps, Martha Stewart Living rated a 1.1 in households,
down 21% from a year ago.
King World is already selling another show -- talk/variety strip Living It
Up with Ali & Jack -- that will replace Martha Stewart Living in
many markets this fall.
Stations are under contract to air Stewart's show through next summer, but
that contract does not preclude them from moving the show to late-night or other
less prominent time periods.
The show is cleared in the majority of the country for its 11th
season, but it is unclear whether it will go on if Stewart is serving a prison
Advertisers had already started pulling out of the show, with DaimlerChrysler
dropping Stewart in January, although the car manufacturer said its choice not
to renew its contract with Stewart had nothing to do with her legal problems.
Stewart was indicted on charges of insider trading and obstruction of justice
related to her selling 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock after her Merrill Lynch & Co.
broker allegedly gave her insider advice and then the two collaborated to keep
the SEC in the dark after it began investigating the trade.
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