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Martha Stewart Rooming

CBS auditions new Marthas via reality TV. The network will place a dozen domestic diva hopefuls in a house together

Do you dream of filling the vacuum left by Martha Stewart, dispensing cooking and crafts tips to millions on CBS and living in a Connecticut mansion? You can, as long as you don't mind sharing the house with 11 other hopeful homemaking honchos. Variety reports that the network, where Stewart had a regular gig on ''The Early Show'' before the stock-fraud scandal that led to her recent felony conviction, is auditioning Martha wannabes via a new reality show produced by LMNO Productions (''The Littlest Groom''). Over 10 episodes, viewers will spend time inside a New England mansion that will house the competitors, a dozen domestic divas -- or maybe divos, since LMNO is allowing men to audition, though it's not sure yet whether the 12 finalists will be a coed group.

In addition to sharing living space, and demonstrating their domestic skills, the housemates will face curveball challenges; for instance, ''You might have to throw a dinner party -- but then find out we've cut off the power,'' says LMNO's Eric Schotz. No word yet on what the prize will be, or whether the winner might face off in the public arena against the winner of NBC's rival ''Domestic Diva Contest'' being held on ''Today'' (whose victor will be announced on April 7). In any case, LMNO wants to be careful not to poke fun at Stewart herself, whose ties to CBS include the syndication of her daytime show ''Martha Stewart Living'' by CBS parent Viacom. ''We're not taking cheap shots at anyone,'' Schotz tells Variety. ''There's just a gap in the marketplace, and this is the right time to find someone. There's a billion-dollar industry to support it.''

Originally posted Mar 29, 2004
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