Martha Stewart's Chopping Block

NBC and Martha Stewart continued National Martha Stewart Resurrection Month last night with her version of an act pioneered by another endearing symbol of American capitalism, Donald Trump.

Stewart's reality show mirrors Trump's "The Apprentice," in which candidates square off each week at various challenges, from selling lemonade to designing ad campaigns. Trump premieres the third season of his show at 9 p.m. today, according to Indianapolis Star.

The winner, chosen from 16 candidates, gets a $250,000-a-year job with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

The busy ex-con, sprung from prison in March, where she had been sent for lying about a stock sale, presided over "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart." It was much like Trump's reality series, except with a new catchphrase and possibly even more odious "candidates" vying, for some reason, to work for the domestic empress, Washington Post reports.

Martha's prime-time premiere was the most eagerly anticipated television debut for Martha fans since about a week ago, when her daytime TV show (cleverly called "Martha") debuted. Martha's daytime and prime-time labors are, of course, in addition to overseeing her magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and her company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, not to mention checking in with her parole officer.

What's more, Martha's Kmart ads are back on the air, and on Sunday, CBS will air a TV movie, "Martha Behind Bars," with Cybill Shepherd reprising her 2003 "Martha, Inc." role as you-know-who you-know-where.

The big suspense last night was what buzz phrase Martha would use to kiss off losing contestants, a la Trump's "You're fired!" This may give some sense of the show's inherent level of suspense. Martha, of course, already had a motto, but "It's a good thing" would have been undescriptive of anything that transpired on the opening episode.

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