Martha Stewart may have left Hallmark’s kitchen, but she’s been busy cooking up new programming for PBS.
At a cooking demonstration on Wednesday morning in one of the test kitchens at the MSLO offices in New York, Stewart was back behind the stove to teach “someone who loves to cook and wants to know more, or someone who doesn’t know and wants to learn how,” via her new show, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.
The weekly series, which premieres the first of its 26 episodes on PBS stations during the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7, is much different than the cooking fare currently on TV, as it is not simply a “dump and stir.” Instead, Stewart cooks each recipe in real time from beginning to end in front of the camera, so viewers are shown the whole process within its half hour. Though more expensive to produce, the show uses every moment of its 26-minute timeframe (while on network television, Stewart said, that time limit is trimmed to “16 minutes for a 30-minute segment”).
Stewart’s Hallmark show, The Martha Stewart Show, ended its run after only two seasons on the air; Stewart said that audience was just “way, way too small” for it to pick up enough steam, resulting in its cancellation earlier this year.
“Television is very important, and it is a way to reach a lot of people quickly and effectively. If you’re a trustworthy source of information, you will build an audience very nicely - and again, if you’re the right place,” Stewart said.
Stewart will be giving the little-viewed Hallmark show another life, however, as each episode is currently being dissected for short-form content (such as how-to’s) to air on her Hulu and YouTube channels, as well as on Yahoo and AOL. Martha Bakes, a show that also aired on Hallmark, will also come to PBS in January.
At the demonstration, Stewart explained how to make béchamel and gave the class foolproof instructions on how to make vinaigrette (one part acid, three parts oil). Unfortunately, mine ended up looking like pond water in a jar, a hint that I, along with many women tuning to their PBS stations, may need to enroll in Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.
Martha Stewart’s Cooking School is produced by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in association with WETA, Washington, D.C.