NEW YORK – Saying "I am a businesswoman and I am a homemaker," Martha Stewart (search) served up details of the two upcoming series that mark her return to TV and call on those two roles.
The studio full of reporters and photographers on Thursday got to take stock of the set for "Martha," her syndicated weekday lifestyles show that premieres Sept. 12. It's a sprawling dream of a Manhattan loft done up in signature Stewart tones, complete with a fully functioning kitchen and a garden area for growing houseplants.
"It's a how-to show with entertainment and a live audience," Stewart said. "It's not a talk show — I don't see a couch anywhere."
As for "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," her weekly NBC prime-time series that premieres Sept. 21, the most urgent question went begging: What, if any, catch phrase Stewart might introduce for her equivalent of "You're fired," as heard on Donald Trump's original "Apprentice" (search) reality series.
Mark Burnett (search), executive producer of "Martha" and both "Apprentice" editions, offered a sneak preview of Stewart's "Apprentice" theme: a cut-down version of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," with the fitting lines, "Everybody's looking for something ... Some of them want to use you."
"There's a wonderful commonality to the end of every show that Martha came up with," added Burnett, hinting at some Martha-coined trademark that might soon be sweeping the nation.
Perched on an aqua-colored stool in front of the "Martha" set's enormous kitchen island, Stewart wore a chocolate-colored pantsuit with aqua beads around her neck and bracelets on both ankles. Beneath her left cuff was strapped the transmitter for her wireless microphone; on her right (as she freely disclosed) the monitoring anklet she has worn for nearly six months as part of the house arrest that ends next Wednesday. (Her original five-month confinement sentence, which followed a five-month prison term for lying about a stock sale, recently was extended by three weeks.)
Long a lifestyles guru who built a media empire, the 64-year-old Stewart is now poised to make a grand comeback after her headline-commanding trial and five-month prison term for lying about a stock sale.
Speaking of her stint this summer taping "The Apprentice," for which production is substantially complete, Stewart said, "I had a great experience."
On the show, 10 women and six men, ranging in age from 22 to 42, compete for 13 weeks on tasks related to Stewart's area of expertise — publishing, apparel, entertainment and branding — with a job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia awaiting the contestant who prevails.
One big difference from the original "Apprentice": Daughter Alexis Stewart and Charles Koppelman, the company's chairman, were also on hand as Stewart's "eyes and ears" during each week's task.
While "The Apprentice" focuses on business, Stewart described "Martha," which will air live, as focused on fun and getting more out of life.