Martha Stewart Looks to Complete Comeback

Hard times, and jail time behind her, queen of home fights to get back on top.

ByABC News
November 18, 2009, 12:50 PM

Nov. 18, 2009 — -- Martha Stewart often rises before her roosters; she confessed on a recent "Nightline" visit that she sleeps only three or four hours a night. And getting sick? Nonsense. "I'm never sick," said Stewart. "Why get sick? It's a waste of time."

Stewart seems to have only one speed: fast forward. And that, to use the phrase she made famous, may be a "very good thing."

In her most-revealing television interview since serving five months in prison in 2004 for lying to investigators about a well-timed stock trade, Stewart gave "Nightline" unprecedented access to her daily life and her business empire, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, (MSLO). It is a critical moment in the company's evolution. The world's most famous homemaker gamely agreed to answer all questions and had some surprising reflections on her legal troubles and on one of her TV competitors, Rachael Ray.


The interview came at a particularly sensitive time for Stewart, as business analysts say the next eight months are crucial to her company's long-term success. Does she agree?

"[It's] fair to say that this is our growth period, that's what it's fair to say, we are growing," said Stewart. "We are, I think, going to do very very well."

And that is more than a wish; it's a necessity. The company lost nearly $16 million last year and has posted a $35 million loss so far this year. If this is a make-or-break moment, Stewart is facing it with a flourish. She claims 37 million people follow her various enterprises, from her cooking show (in its fifth year) to her books -- all 69 of them, and counting.

Stewart's latest publication, "Dinner at Home," hit the bestseller list the first week it was out. Her fans can't get enough of all things Martha, and legions of them show up at book signings around the country. A few weeks ago she signed 600 books at a Williams-Sonoma in Philadelphia.

There are also, of course, the magazines -- a variety of titles, led by Living. But most important to the bottom line is the "stuff" -- the products Stewart sells in more than 5,000 retail stores in the United States and overseas: everything from dog dishes to glitter kits. She told us she sold three million jars of glitter after she taught Jay Leno how to "glitter by number."