Long-running daytime talker The Martha Stewart Show will end its run of new episodes on Hallmark Channel in May due to disappointing ratings, network officials confirmed Wednesday.
The series, which moved to Hallmark in September 2010 amid much fanfare after years in broadcast syndication, has struggled to meet viewership expectations. The 10 a.m. original series episodes averaged 199,000 total viewers in 2011, down from the 210,000 viewers it drew in its first week on Hallmark (Sept. 13-Sept. 16, 2010).
The New York Post, which broke the story, said Hallmark notified Stewart that the show's expense is no longer justified given the "sparse audience." And that MSLO is expected to give the show "a lavish Oprah-style send off for the program."
Original episodes of the show will run through May, and it will continue on in repeats through August.
A joint statement from Hallmark Channel and Stewart's Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia company said, "the daytime block on Hallmark Channel demonstrated year over year ratings growth and earned The Martha Stewart Show two Daytime Emmy Awards in its first season on Hallmark Channel. That show will continue to air through the end of summer 2012. MSLO and Hallmark Channel are in discussions about potential new programming and concepts for daytime."
According to Hallmark, no determination has been made yet about the other MSLO shows in the 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daytime programming block: Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn, Emeril's Table and Petkeeping With Marc Morrone. A Hallmark rep said talks are under way with MSLO regarding the shows.