- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2005

‘Martha’s makeover

Martha Stewart has shed her ankle bracelet and is ready to enter our homes.

Miss Stewart’s metamorphosis from jailbird to talk-show hostess begins today as the home decorating giant starts her eponymous talk show across the nation.

District viewers can watch “Martha” at 10 a.m. today on WJLA.

Miss Stewart described the talker as “a how-to show with entertainment” during a recent phone press conference.

“My new motto is ‘when you’re through changing, you’re through,’ ” she said. The home guru even banned couches on the set — no one will be resting on their laurels or anything else.

The show’s producers appear eager to explode Miss Stewart’s image as an indifferent mogul and replace it with the girl next door — who just so happens to be a gazillionaire.

She even eats hot dogs, said “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” creator Mark Burnett during the chat. That show debuts Sept. 21 on NBC.

Miss Stewart’s home decorating minions tend to be women, but the host insists her new talker won’t ignore the fellas.

“We’d like to appeal as much to men as to women,” says Miss Stewart, who showed off a healthy sense of humor during the interview. “We’re talking about everyday living. We’re talking about gardening and horticulture as well as crafts and cooking.”

Today’s premiere show will feature “Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross, a tasty bit of irony since her character is said to be similar to the public’s perception of Miss Stewart.

Later this week, Miss Stewart welcomes David Spade and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who will teach her how to rap.

Fashion update

Original segments of “Ambush Makeover” have ended, but repeats of its 180 30-minute episodes will run indefinitely on cable’s Style network beginning today.

The show, which featured several hosts — called “style agents” on the series — who traveled to cities nationwide in search of fashion-challenged targets in need of an overhaul (some picked at random and others cajoled by friends), was seen weekdays at 2 and 2:30 p.m. on Fox affiliate WTTG (Channel 5). Its reruns will now be broadcast in back-to-back installments at 6 and 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday on Style.

Twentieth TV, which distributed the show, canceled its run earlier this year, according to Variety. Each episode was filmed during “Ambush’s” 2004-05 inaugural season.

“Ambush” was produced by Banyan Productions, whose stable of reality/makeover shows includes “Trading Spaces,” “A Makeover Story” and “A Wedding Story,” all seen on TLC.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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