Last Thursday, on an earnings conference call, President and COO of MSLO Lisa Gersh confirmed that the company is moving forward with plans to develop new television programing. Gersh said: "Martha Stewart and Chef Emeril Lagasse will continue to have a television presence in 2012 and, we believe, beyond 2012."
Left: The television studio in Chelsea in its original incarnation. Right: The prep kitchen on set.
Gersh also confirmed that the company intends to move away from taping live in front of a studio audience, creating a "leaner and more profitable television business" in the process. Letting go of the Chelsea Studio lease, where Martha has taped live in New York City for the last six years, would save the company $5.3-million annually, not to mention saving on live production costs. The plan, says Gersh, is to employ more cost-effective production methods while still working with its longtime partners to create informative and entertaining content.
Gersh also said that the company is in talks with broadcast and cable networks, including Hallmark, as well as independent production companies about potential new shows. A key component, says Gersh, is "meeting customers where they want to find us."
Last summer, the "Martha" production team completely redesigned the Chelsea studio in time for the September premier.
In related news, the company is currently in the process of digitizing its more than 2,500 hours of past television programs, including the Martha Stewart Living television program, with plans to incorporate that content into its digital media platforms, such as the iPad editions of its magazines.
Speaking as a longtime viewer of Martha's television programs, I can say wholeheartedly that I have deeply missed her television presence on Canadian airwaves, where Hallmark is not available. I truly hope that changes. Honestly, I do not care where I find Martha on television, just as long as I find her.
I'm really looking forward to hearing more about these new television ventures! What do you want to see in a Martha Stewart program? What would be your dream Martha Stewart show? What would some of your must-have components be in creating the perfect Martha Stewart show? Leave a comment or write to me and we can discuss some of the answers in a future post.