Anders Krusberg/Martha Stewart Living Television/AP
By Stephen M. Silverman
09/14/2005 at 08:30 AM EDT
Like her reviews, the ratings for Martha Stewart's new syndicated show Martha produced a mix bag of results.
The new NBC show, which presented a livelier and looser Martha, beat last year's programs in the same timeslot with a healthy 41 percent boost in ratings, according to overnight ratings from the 56 markets being monitored by Nielsen Media Research.
That's the good news. But given the newsworthy buildup and high expectations for the show, the viewership is considered underwhelming.
Martha premiered Monday at a 2.4 rating/ 8 share in the metered markets. By comparison, reports Variety, NBC's former failed talk show, The Jane Pauley Show – which Martha bumped off the air in several markets – opened with a 2.2/ 6 on Aug. 30, 2004.
As such, says the trade paper, at best Martha could be considered "just a modest success." For that matter, two other syndicated shows making their debuts – The Tyra Banks Show and Judge Alex – had higher ratings in some regions.
As for critical reaction, the domestic diva just about evenly split the reviewers. New York's Daily News declared, "'Martha' Misses," while the New York Post gushed about the new program, headlining the assessment with, "Funny, You Don't Look Shrewish."