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Martha Stewart turns to Sirius

NEW YORK-- Six weeks after being released from federal prison, Martha Stewart has reached a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. to create a 24-hour channel, featuring cooking, gardening, and entertaining programming for women.

Coming on the heels of separate deals to create a version of ''The Apprentice" and a daily cooking show, the four-year agreement announced yesterday with Sirius marks Stewart's latest move to rebuild her business after serving time for lying to the government about a stock sale.

Stewart, who has parlayed her success at homemaking advice into a magazine, TV show, and merchandising empire, has dabbled in radio work before, making 90-second ''Ask Martha" radio segments.

At a news conference yesterday, Stewart said her connection with radio stretched to her childhood, when her family was the last in her neighborhood to get a television set. ''I don't know about you, but I was raised on the radio," she said.

Stewart will appear on the channel, expected to be called Martha Stewart Living Radio.

For Sirius, the deal with Stewart is the most recent effort to compete with its much larger rival in the emerging satellite radio business, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. Earlier this month, XM reported that it had 3.8 million subscribers, while Sirius's most recent subscriber count was 1.2 million. Last year, Sirius signed a five-year, $500 million deal to broadcast Howard Stern's show beginning in 2006.

Both Sirius and XM are still suffering deep financial losses and are spending aggressively to lure customers to their services, which cost $12.95 a month and require the purchase of special receiver units, which can only receive either Sirius or XM signals.

The channel is expected to launch later this year, after a legal restriction on Stewart's ability to work is lifted.

ABC's 'Housewives' draws top ratings

ABC's ''Desperate Housewives" and ''Grey's Anatomy" were the only shows in prime time with a pulse Sunday night. ABC easily won the night, as usual, on the strength of 9 p.m.'s ''Housewives," which lured 24.6 million viewers according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

At 10 p.m., ''Grey's Anatomy" (19.7 million) delivered its highest marks by far in its fourth airing to date.

With repeats dotting the schedule, ABC's competitors were barely in the game. CBS's leading light of the night was the 8 p.m. repeat of ''Cold Case" (13.2 million), but the 9-11 p.m. telecast of ''Don't Say a Word" (8.1 million) had no traction against ABC's dramas. NBC was in the Nielsen cellar in the opening hour of prime time with its 7 p.m. special ''Home Intervention" (4.2 million).

Fox's highlight of the night, as always, was the 8 p.m. edition of ''The Simpsons" (8.3 million).

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

CNN correspondent takes new role

John King, CNN's senior White House reporter since 1999, was named chief national correspondent yesterday.

After eight years shadowing presidents, ''it was time to do something else," says King, 41. ''I loved my job. I don't want to be described as a miserable wretch who wanted off the beat."

Based in Washington, King will report on a broad range of stories in the nation and around the world. Many will be from his former beat, ''but with less constraints," he says.

Dana Bash and Suzanne Malveaux will continue on the White House beat. Various correspondents will sub for King until a successor is named.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on ''Around the Globe" today on NECN:

9:30 a.m.: ''Talk of New England" -- senior assistant sports editor Reid Laymance on the Celtics and the NBA playoffs.

12:30 p.m.: ''Globe at Home" -- Eating Right columnist Larry Lindner on choosing cheese wisely.

6:30 p.m.: ''New England Business Day"

8:30 p.m.: ''NewsNight"

Schedule is subject to change.

Talk of the dial

8 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- ''Stu Taylor on Business." Tony Sandler, ''Chevalier -- Maurice & Me."

Other radio highlights

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23; Saint-Saens's Cello Concerto No. 1; Haydn's Symphony No. 93.

4 p.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- ''Live Interview." Guest: the Duhks, Canadian contemporary acoustic band.

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