Hallmark acquires Martha Stewart series

Nabs exclusive U.S. TV rights to MSLO library product

NEW YORK -- The Hallmark Channel and Martha Stewart are expanding and deepening their relationship.

The network said Tuesday it has acquired the exclusive U.S. TV rights to programming from the library of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia that it will use in a new seven-hour daytime programming block as it refocuses its daytime schedule on lifestyle and home content.

Financial details weren't disclosed.

The deal deepens a relationship struck by the two sides in late January that envisioned a 2 1/2 hour programming block of new MSLO programming anchored by "The Martha Stewart Show," which has so far been a syndicated TV show.

Crown Media-owned Hallmark will launch the new weekday programming block, which runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning Monday, March 29.

It previously announced that "The Martha Stewart Show" along with encores and other new programming would exclusively move to Hallmark in September. Details of the fall schedule are still being determined, but total MSLO programming is expected to continue to be seven hours on weekdays after the fall launch.

The new extended daytime block that goes into effect at the end of the month will include episodes from such MSLO library programs as "From Martha's Kitchen," "From Martha's Home" and "From Martha's Garden." Other library titles that will be used are "Petkeeping with Marc Morrone," "Martha Stewart Living," early seasons of "Everyday Food" and assorted specials.

Episodes of the series will also be seen on Hallmark Channel in shorter blocks on weekends between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., beginning April 3.

Hallmark Channel's primetime and weekend schedules will continue to feature its Hallmark Channel original movies, as well as specials, "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentations and acquired series.

"In addition to being genuinely informative and entertaining, this daytime programming block will showcase the diverse creativity that has long defined the Martha Stewart brand," said Hallmark Channel president and CEO Bill Abbott. "As we evolve our daytime lineup into a lifestyle and home orientation, this timeless content will serve as the ideal launch pad for and the perfect segue into the premiere of 'The Martha Stewart Show' in its new home on Hallmark Channel."

MSLO executive chairman Charles Koppelman said: "This new arrangement provides an ideal home for our evergreen and ever-popular library of Martha Stewart-branded how-to television programming."
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