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Legal woes 'not a good thing' for show

| Wednesday, May 19, 2004

NEW YORK -- With its star facing a possible prison sentence, the "Martha Stewart Living" TV show will be put on hiatus after this season winds up, the show's producers announced Tuesday.

Production of the award-winning syndicated show, distributed by King World Productions, will continue for the remainder of the 11th season, through September.

"I am deeply sorry that it has become necessary for the show to go on hiatus until my personal legal situation is resolved," said Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. "I hope to resume our close collaboration just as soon as I am able to do so."

The company also will eliminate 40 jobs in its television division by June 30, leaving 35 positions, spokeswoman Elizabeth Estroff said.

Stewart, who owns 61 percent of the media empire, also stepped down as chief creative officer and resigned from the company's board. She assumed the title of founding editorial director.

She had resigned as chairman and chief executive last June after being indicted.

Stewart was convicted March 5 of lying about why she sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems stock in 2001, just before the stock price plunged.

She is scheduled for sentencing June 17 and is widely expected to get 10 to 16 months in prison.

Martha Stewart Living said it will continue production of "Petkeeping With Marc Morrone" and accelerate its development of special and new programming such as "Everyday Food."

Shares in the company fell 11 cents to close at $9.18 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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