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Mixed reviews, ratings for 'Martha'

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84420__martha3_l”A poncho covers a lot of sins,” Martha Stewart declared this morning, on Day 2 of her new, live morning talk-and-craft show, Martha. But should the domestic diva have thrown a big, gray, crocheted garment over her entire Sept. 12 premiere episode? TV critics were split.

Several outlets praised her performance, including The Associated Press, which declared that Martha ”found Stewart in affable, informative form,” and Business Week, which called the host ”funny, down to earth, light-hearted, and well, likeable.” Others, however, doused her in Haterade. USA Today said her ”stint in prison has done nothing to dent Stewart’s faith in the overweening importance of a properly folded T-shirt. Nor has it done much to take the chill off her oddly intimidating TV persona.” (They say that like it’s a bad thing!) The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, meanwhile, argued that ”in the interest of accuracy, [the show] should be renamed Martha, Martha, Martha” because of the emphasis on its host.

Overnight ratings news for the first episode was somewhat mixed as well. While Martha’s 2.4 rating and 8 share improved on its lead-in programming and year-ago time-period averages, it’s worth noting that last year, The Jane Pauley Show drew a 2.2/6, and had the plug pulled by season’s end. In other words, as MediaWeek’s Marc Berman notes, ”Had expectations been lower for Martha, this could be considered a positive debut. As it stands, Martha after day one is really just a modest success.”

That said, it’s still better than the debut of The Tyra Banks Show, which scored a disappointing 1.3 rating, and a 4 share in the overnights. Somebody call the Fierce Force!

Originally posted September 13 2005 — 4:28 PM EDT

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