Martha Stewart warms up for TV return

Homemaking guru and ex-convict Martha Stewart answered all manner of questions about her new "Apprentice" show in a publicity appearance on Thursday except the one that's been asked most - what slogan will she use to dismiss contestants from the show?

"What makes you think there is a slogan?" she joked as she talked about her reality TV show modeled after Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" and his famed line of "You're fired."

Viewers will have to wait until Sept. 21, when the show debuts on NBC television, with 10 women and six men competing for a job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.

Stewart, who hosted reporters and photographers at her Manhattan studio to promote "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" and her live daytime how-to show "Martha," was candid and good-natured about the five months she spent in federal prison for lying about a stock trade, reports Reuters.

Susan Lyne, president and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, concedes that much is at stake for the company. "It would be ridiculous for me to say that we are not taking on a lot right now. We felt it was important to come out strong."

The goal: To knock off any competitors who have tried to fill the void. "We need to reclaim the rightful place as the domestic lifestyle brand," Lyne says.

And the way to do that is to change the image?

"She is still a perfectionist," Lyne says. "The focus on excellence is still there, but she's much looser about allowing all the other parts of a person to show."

Stewart will have to somehow mesh her lighter daytime persona with the businesswoman she will still be in her prime-time show. There, 16 candidates will undertake tasks - the first is updating a children's fairy tale - in an effort to land a job as Stewart's apprentice.

"It will show the kind of executive I really am," she says. And part of that will be firing people. One big secret has been what she'll say when she does that, potentially coining a catchphrase akin to Donald Trump's "You're fired," informs Usatoday.

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