Upheaval at Martha Stewart


In a behind-the-scenes shakeup at syndicated talker The Martha Stewart Show, Co-Executive Producer Rob Dauber is out, and a search for his replacement has begun.

Dauber has been with the show since its inception, and was recruited by Martha Executive Producer Mark Burnett after the duo worked together on NBC’s The Restaurant. But as first reported by the New York Post’s Michael Starr, Dauber and the domestic diva have clashed behind the scenes.

One contender for the job is Bernie Young, who, like Dauber, is a former staffer on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Young was executive producer from 1999 to 2001. Former Today Executive Producer Tom Touchet also interviewed for the position but is said to no longer be under consideration.

With strong syndication experience said to be in the job description, other candidates include Jerry Springer and Sally Jessy Raphael veteran Burt Dubrow, and former Tony Danza Executive Producer Jill Blackstone.

While Martha earned its highest ratings in nearly five months the week ending Oct. 15, the 1.4 average was off a full 18% from its already disappointing first season. Despite the modest numbers, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), which is enjoying a good run under CEO and former ABC exec Susan Lyne, still considers the show a strong branding asset.

The show is produced as a partnership between MSLO and Mark Burnett Productions and distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. Sources close to it say that arrangement makes Martha a strong candidate for third-season renewals, as opposed to if it was just owned and distributed by NBCU.