Martha Stewart defends low ratings start

Hallmark Channel show will add celebs to up interest

Martha Stewart expects that her audience on the Hallmark Channel, where the domestic doyenne's talk show launched last week along with other Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia programming, will grow over time, and Hollywood stars are part of the recipe.

Stewart tells The New York Times that she's confident her viewers will begin tuning in over the next few months. Brendan Fraser and Katherine Heigl are slated to appear.

Last week, Stewart also flew to Chicago to tape an hour-long episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," according to the report, which also mentioned how her company is using Twitter, blogs, magazines and ads to make her fans aware of where to find her.

The show premiered to weak ratings last week.

The alliance between Martha Stewart and Hallmark Channel is designed to boost the fortunes of both brands which have been struggling amid a challenging syndication market and a widening rift between those cable channels that have strong content and personalities and those that don't.

"I like to build," Stewart told the NY Times. Stewart, 69, has long had a challenging time reaching a broader TV audience, the New York Times said. "What she finds interesting does not necessarily make for riveting television," the paper wrote. "Producers have tried to use celebrity guests to spice up the show, but it can be an awkward fit with Ms. Stewart, who is at her best demonstrating how to repot a house plant or pontificating on the perfect way to pit cherries."
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