Why All’s Not Well in the World of Martha Stewart

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Domestic bliss? Not as of late. The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the suddenly struggling Martha Stewart.

We might all want to be Oprah, but it’s tough going for Stewart. According to the Times, Stewart’s empire lost $19 million in 2009 and, with much of her television programming struggling to find an audience on the TV backwater that is the Hallmark Channel, the one-time domestic diva is facing a “do-or-die moment.” Martha’s maintaining her flagship show on NBC, but a plan to launch eight-hours of Stewart-centric programming on Hallmark ultimately failed to outperform the reruns of The Golden Girls that once occupied the time slot. (Betty White: She can’t be stopped.)

Do people just not like Martha? Stewart faces competition from Oprah and fresh-faced Rachel Ray on TV and from myriad blogs online. That and in a time-strapped, recession-crunched world, perhaps we don’t value Martha’s particular brand of perfection-at-all-costs like we once did. All this means a push for Stewart to make things simpler and faster.

(See Martha Stewart as one of the 25 most powerful women of the past century.)

Stewart refuses to call it a reinvention, casting it instead as a refocus: “Yes, we’re bringing people back to basic values in this economic downturn, but people forget that we’ve always been doing that, since Day 1,” she tells the Times. (Via the Los Angeles Times)