Scandal-hit US homemaking guru Martha Stewart has dropped a regular feature about her life from the magazine that bears her name.

In what some consider an attempt to separate the person from the brand, monthly title Martha Stewart Living has pulled a spot called Martha’s Calendar. A mainstay of the magazine for thirteen years, the feature details Stewart’s activities for the month to remind readers what they need to do to keep their homes in check. “Wash all cats,” read one entry last year, shortly followed by “Surprise dinner for Alexis’s birthday.”

But Stewart now has less wholesome matters on her mind than the cleanliness of her pets – specifically a forthcoming court appearance on charges relating to her sale of shares in biotech firm ImClone.

The scandal has taken a heavy toll on the magazine’s publisher, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Profits at the firm plunged 86% in the second quarter as the title’s circulation slipped [WAMN: 13-Aug-03].

Consequently, some see it as no surprise that in this month’s magazine Martha’s Calendar has been replaced with Gentle Reminders. This new feature still doles out helpful advice (“Use back-to-school time as an annual reminder to schedule a year's worth of medical appointments”), but has removed any reference to Stewart herself.

The lifestyle oracle, however, denies any connection between the impending court case and the change in feature. According to Stewart, the switch reflects the numerous copycat versions of Martha’s Calendar that have appeared in rival titles. “We believe it is time to evolve our calendar to something different,” she declared. “It is not about anything else.”

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff