'Martha' renewed for third season

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Daytime talker "The Martha Stewart Show" has been renewed for a third season on several station groups, including various NBC O&Os in major markets.

NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution said Monday that the hourlong "how-to" strip, now in its second year in syndication, has been sold to the NBC O&Os in such markets as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco as well as stations from Gannett, Belo, Fisher, Scripps and other groups for the 2007-08 season.

The announcement follows the news that co-executive producer Rob Dauber has exited the show, which averaged a 1.4 household rating during the week ending Oct. 15, according to the most recent Nielsen data available.

"We are thrilled with Martha's strong return to daytime television and the overwhelmingly positive response we have received from our local broadcast partners and viewers," said Barry Wallach, president of the NBC Universal distribution unit. "Martha's fresh and lively approach to how-to instruction, mixed with the show's format, has been a winning combination from the start."

Added Sheraton Kalouria, president of broadcasting at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., which produces the show: "This news really underscores the difference that 'The Martha Stewart Show' makes in daytime. The series has distinguished itself by becoming a resource for everything how-to, and this early endorsement from our affiliates indicates their satisfaction with the show's performance and its content."

"Martha" is executive produced by Stewart and Mark Burnett, the latter of whom said: "Thanks to NBC Universal and our station partners for showing such incredible support so early in this, our second season. We look forward to a third year of entertaining content, filled with great storytelling and how-to information that will make a difference in the daily lives of our viewers."

Meanwhile, a search is under way to find a replacement for Dauber, MSLO said in a statement.

"We are off to a great start this year and are actively searching for a co-executive producer who will continue to grow this franchise and develop interesting, interactive 'how-to' lifestyle programming for our second season," said MSLO, which also thanked Dauber for his work on the show.

In a statement, Dauber offered no explanation for his departure, but it's been reported that he and Stewart clashed behind the scenes.

"Working on 'The Martha Stewart Show' has been an incredible experience, and I feel confident that I am leaving Martha Stewart and the show in the capable hands of the talented and creative 'Martha Stewart Show' production team," he said.
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