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WISH-TV to replace Martha Stewart with local style show

February 25, 2010

Martha Stewart is moving to cable. So WISH-TV Channel 8 will produce its own lifestyle talk show on weekdays at 9 a.m.

The CBS affiliate in Indianapolis will announce Friday its launch of "Indy Style," a one-hour daily show on fashion, fitness, food and fads—all with a local focus.

WISH-TV has redesigned one of its studios at its North Meridian Street office to include a full kitchen, where professional and amateur chefs will share recipes and techniques. The set will also accommodate workout equipment, live performances and demonstrations and even a runway to show off current clothing.

The show will first air on March 15.

Contracts with the show's hosts have yet to be completed, but the hosts are expected to be Tracy Forner, the former morning news anchor at WXIN Channel 59, and Andi Hauser, a former morning news anchor for the CBS affiliate in Spokane, Wash.

Martha Stewart, the maven of domestic style, announced a month ago that her daily show would move in September from broadcast syndication to the Hallmark Network. In Indianapolis, Stewart’s show currently airs on WISH-TV on weekdays at 9 a.m.

WISH-TV officials said their new show will have the feel of cable talk shows on such channels as HGTV, the Food Network and the Style Network. The key difference will be that the guests featured on the show will be product makers and service providers from the Indianapolis area.

“Indy Style fills a much needed programming void in central Indiana,” said Jeff White, president and general manager of WISH-TV, in a written statement. “The show is a resource of unique local content for our audience unavailable anywhere else.”

Bill Perkins, president of Indianapolis-based media-buying firm Perkins Nichols Media, called the show "interesting" and "gutsy," in part because producing a show locally can be an expensive endeavor. He said the Martha Stewart show tends to draw smaller ratings than shows on other stations do in the same time slot. And local morning news shows tend to draw larger audiences than the national morning shows.

"The local aspect may have some appeal," Perkins said. The problem is, he added, that WISH faces a steep challenge to woo an audience amid the plethora of cable offerings about fashion, food and style. "I think it's kind of a long shot," Perkins said.

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