Is this Martha Stewart's new retirement contingency plan: making her daughter into a star so she can take care of her in her old age? Alexis Stewart is going to be the host of a new show on Fine Living that skewers her mother, nicely one can assume, since it appears that the Stewart matriarch has had a chance to preview a dozen episodes of Whatever, Martha! and approved them.
The new show, which debuts Sept. 16, got off to a good start with a gentle write-up in the New York Times, just the kind of free press that a venture like this needs. As described by the Times, it is a send-up akin to Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the hosts critique old episodes of Martha's show from the 1990s, pre-scandal.
The nepotism extends beyond the Stewart family, as the co-host is Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, who is the daughter of the chairman of Martha's company, which has been struggling in the wake of Martha's jail term. In the end, the effort sounds more like a bid to make Fine LIving's library of old Martha shows popular with a new, young audience, than the branding of a pair of new talk show hosts.
Hollywood often turns to family relationships like this to make a splash, and is never above some stunt casting or cameo appearances -- even just a hint of glamour will do -- to make the publicity shout a little louder. Some of the efforts are legit and some smack of desperation. This one falls squarely into the "sidekick" category occupied most recently by the likes of Melissa Rivers and Ivanka Trump, who were dragged along into show business to bolster the audience of a flagging parent. Not that these children entered into the family business unwillingly. What better way to earn a big paycheck?
Browsing through a list of celebrity children in the business at HollywoodNepotism, it's easy to see how far this is, however, from the gold standard of the kids ending up more famous than mom and dad, like Angelina Jolie or Kate Hudson. It's even far from the runner-up category of those trying to be more famous than mom and dad, like Ron Howard's kid, Bryce Dallas Howard, who still has to be referred to as Ron's kid in order to be recognized.
Alexis Stewart is not a name on her own yet, but that's not really the point. Whatever she can do to help bolster her mother's popularity will be great for the Stewart family as a whole, just like it should be for any family business enlisting the help of the next generation.