The domestic goddess who has made good Living a multimillion dollar enterprise--encompassing TV, magazines and books--is said to be not amused at two CBS series that spoof her holier-than-Julia Child image.
"She's not happy with me," CBS President Leslie Moonves admitted to reporters this week.
Moonves confirmed he'd received a telephone call from Stewart. The subject: Style & Substance and The Simple Life.
Both shows feature Stewart-esque mavens of home entertaining. Style & Subtance, which debuted January 5, stars Jean Smart as Chelsea Stevens, a newly divorced TV host (ring any bells?) "whose personal touch never carries into her personal life," this, according to CBS press release-speak.
We can only imagine Stewart's dismay, if, or when, she tripped upon this Style & Substance blurb: Chelsea "has no trouble whipping up a gourmet dinner for 12, but she doesn't know 12 people who care to eat it with her." (Yup, it's definitely getting chilly in here.)
Stewart expressed her, well, reservations to the show's producers. They capitulated and made a point of noting in a script that mean Chelsea is not Martha, but rather a foe of Martha.
"I'm flattered that she would take an interest in our little program," Style & Substance Peter Tolan told reporters. "I think that shows a real attention to detail."
Both Tolan and Smart say they hope Stewart will deign their "little program" worthy of a guest spot. The grand dame of the kitchen previously did a cameo on an episode of Ellen.
The Simple Life, meanwhile, is a sitcom about "America's foremost authority on ways to achieve a relaxed, homespun lifestyle," according to CBS. It's on the network's back-burner, awaiting an air date.
Moonves conceded that if the show makes the schedule, it will likely undergo a de-Martha-ization.
"Our talent is important," Moonves said. "It's the lifeblood of the network."
Stewart is indeed a key CBS employee. She appears on its suddenly surging daytime news show, This Morning. (Stewart was even dispatched to Cuba by CBS to cover the Pope's visit.) Additionally, her syndicated daytime show, Martha Stewart Living, is produced by the CBS-owned Eyemark Entertainment.
Officially, Stewart is steering clear of the reel Martha controversy.
"CBS is free to broadcast any program it choose to," a spokesperson said. "I would hope that it would be programming of the highest quality and educational value."
And shows that make fun of mean ol' neighbors who plant "inappropriate greenery" on your side of the property line would, no doubt, be nice, too.