From syndication to Hallmark Channel and now to PBS, Martha Stewart continues her march across the TV landscape in search of a sustainable audience.
Martha’s new weekly series, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School,” will debut on PBS in the fall. Stewart’s Living Omnimedia company is producing the show with the District station WETA, which calls the show a “teaching series.”
In January, Hallmark announced that it was pulling the daily “The Martha Stewart Show” in the summer. The home-entertainment maven has struggled at the cable network for a couple of years, having migrated there after a spell in the rough-and-tumble world of daytime syndication.
The cooking show comes in the nick of time: WETA also announced Thursday that, come June, it will be shuttering its lifestyle channel, WETA How-To, which had included cooking shows, among other programming. In the summer, the channel will become WETA UK and, as the name suggests, it will traffic exclusively in programming from U.K. producers, including BBC classics, 24/7.
Love all those old British comedies and dramas? Shows such as “All Creatures Great and Small,” “Ballykissangel,” vintage “Doctor Who,” “Waiting for God,” “Inspector Morse,” “Monarch of the Glen,” “Fawlty Towers,” “Prime Suspect,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” “Robin Hood,” “To the Manor Born,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Are you Being Served?” — and “Masterpiece” productions from when it was called “Masterpiece Theatre.” We could go on and on.
Anyway, if you love them, you’re in luck — they’re on the menu, too.
Plus, there will be episodes of the original BBC “Antiques Roadshow,” which not only spawned the U.S. version of the same name but also gave birth to all those “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers” that have thrived and proliferated across our great cable universe.
Saturday nights on WETA UK will be all about movies — feature film-length contemporary drama.
WETA UK joins the WETA television family that also includes the mothership station WETA TV 26, WETA HD and WETA Kids.
Getting back to Martha Stewart: In each 30-minute episode of her “Cooking School,” she will demonstrate classic cooking techniques and basics — the building blocks of recipes everyone should know, from roasting to poaching, from braising to blanching.
Martha and WETA are old friends, having previously produced the station’s “Everyday Food,” minus Martha as host.
On this new show, however, you’ll have Martha right by your side, showing you how to make the perfect pot roast, how to make stocks — not sell them — and why they’re so essential to making sauces and delicious soups.
Turns out, ABC’s “Good Morning America” beat NBC’s “Today” show last week by 31,000 viewers, Nielsen reported Thursday morning — not 13,000, as Nielsen reported Monday.
Last week, with “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts back from vacation, the ABC morning infotainment program beat “Today,” thus ending the NBC show’s 16-year-plus record as the weekly ratings winner.
The 31,000-viewer gap is Nielsen’s final word on the week’s ratings; the 13,000 gap had been based on early stats issued Monday by Nielsen, triggering happy dancing at ABC News — although privately, not publicly. The show’s exec producer said Monday that the show’s staff members would “save any celebrating for when the final numbers come in on Thursday.”
Which they did.
The biggest change in the Nielsen stats happened with Wednesday’s “GMA” ratings. That day’s show — featuring an interview with ABC’s daytime darling Sherri Shepherd (the surprise elimination from ABC’s prime-time “Dancing With the Stars” competition the previous night) — attracted about 400,000 more viewers than “Today,” which limped along all week with its lead anchor, Matt Lauer, on vacation.
“GMA’s” audience that Wednesday was, in fact, the show’s biggest in about a year — since the Monday morning after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
We’ll get back to you when we figure out the larger meaning of that.
In the meantime, public celebrating erupted Thursday at ABC News. “All of us at ABC News salute the dynamic team at ‘Good Morning America’ who never sleep and who care so deeply about the program,” ABC News President Ben Sherwood said in a statement.
“Of course, we congratulate our friends at ‘Today’ for the greatest winning streak in broadcasting history and for their excellence and leadership during this historic run,” continued Sherwood, adding: “It’s a special day for ABC News and, after a proper celebration 852 weeks in the making, we’ll get right back to work to be ready tomorrow to help ‘GMA’ viewers start their day with a rewarding experience and big-picture understanding of the world.”
On Friday’s “GMA”: Matthew Broderick will discuss his new Broadway play, “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Melissa Rycroft — who famously got dumped by “Bachelor” Jason Mesnick, after he named her his Most Favorite of the Dating Pool, so he could hook up with the runner-up — will discuss postpartum depression and her new reality series, “Melissa & Tye.” And chef Emeril Lagasse will presumably talk about cooking.
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/