Incarceration has been very, very good — well, very, very profitable, at least — to Martha Stewart. Rather than the predicted slow collapse of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia — from which she has had to distance herself — is on the rebound.
On Wednesday it was announced that Stewart, who gets out of jail in March, will be doing a daily cooking, crafts and furnishing show in September, taped before a live audience. NBC will distribute the show, which already has commitments from NBC stations in 14 major cities covering a third of her country.
There’s a little sweet revenge here for Stewart in signing on with NBC. Stewart’s old show, "Martha Stewart Living," went into hiatus last year after the CBS stations dropped it amid her rising legal troubles.
And, as they say on TV: Wait, there’s more.
There is serious talk of her doing a prime-time reality show, perhaps on the order of Donald Trump’s "The Apprentice." Giving these prospects credence is that Mark Burnett, creator of "Apprentice" and "Survivor," will be doing the daytime show and very likely the reality show.
Stewart’s merchandise line — furnishings, furniture, bedding, house wares — has been selling well in the holiday season; if shoppers are disturbed about its founder’s being in jail for lying to the feds, they’re not showing it.
And on the announcement of the daytime show, stock in Stewart’s company jumped 7 percent to $24.43, up from a low of $8.25. All those who dissed Martha are now sorry and poorer.
Stewart is barred from transacting business while locked up in remote Alderson, W.Va., and these deals were negotiated without her. But with that kind of performance, Stewart might want to ask the feds if she can return for short periods of incarceration when stock or the sales slump.