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Stewart shows off new syndicated show

New talk show will often air live, include celebrities
/ Source: The Associated Press

Martha Stewart put her foot on a chair and slightly tugged the leg of her white pantsuit to reveal ... her gold clogs.

You were expecting to see her ankle bracelet?

“There’s something under here that I’m not going to show,” Stewart told an audience of television advertising executives Monday. “Whoever is watching me knows exactly where I am. This is an approved event.”

Stewart similarly teased the executives with details about her syndicated talk show in the hope that they buy commercial time.

Still under house arrest and required to wear an electronic-monitoring device for lying about a stock deal, Stewart is allowed to leave her country home 40 miles north of Manhattan for work. She was criticized for attending a Time magazine gala celebrating influential people last month.

Based on Monday’s description, “Martha,” which is to debut Sept. 12, resembles “Oprah” in its singular devotion to its one-name-only star.

The most successful daytime shows are based on their stars’ personalities, said co-executive producer Rob Dauber.

“Martha is a teacher,” Dauber said. “She’s still going to teach people how to cook, how to craft, how to make a beautiful home. But she’s going to do so in a new environment.”

Many days the show will air live before an audience. Her old daytime series, “Martha Stewart Living,” lasted 12 years and ended when her case went to court. It was studio-based and done without an audience.

Stewart will also greet celebrities, but hopes to go beyond the interview format: She’d like to go cycling in Central Park with Robin Williams, for instance.

She also plans to start “Martha’s Scholars,” identifying and helping stellar students, and introduce segments on young mothers who are also business entrepreneurs. She’ll search for — and try to help — the country’s worst cooks.

“There is a hope on the part of Mark Burnett, my executive producer, that my sense of humor will come out a little bit more,” Stewart said.

Producers showed an already filmed segment in which the show went to the home of a woman, who described herself as a “Jewish Martha Stewart,” to see how she cooked. Stewart then surprised her by showing up at her door. She peered into the woman’s spice cabinet and poked at her entree to see if it was done.

“How would you feel if I came to your house?” Stewart asked. “Are you prepared?”

The daytime show is already cleared to air in 92 percent of the country, primarily on NBC stations in big cities. That’s a solid indicator of interest. But Jane Pauley’s show aired in 148 of the nation’s 150 top markets when it started last fall, but was canceled after one lackluster season.

Burnett, producer of “Survivor,” is also working with Stewart on a version of another of his shows, “The Apprentice,” in which she takes Donald Trump’s role.

Before deciding to work with Burnett, Stewart described how she made him pass a test. She invited Burnett and his girlfriend, actress Roma Downey, to her Maine home for a weekend and before he left, made him watch a video about how to neatly fold a T-shirt.

Could he do it? He did.