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How Martha Stewart Became the Surprise Star of Quarantine: Inside Her Hot Girl Summer

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Related: How Martha Stewart’s Living a Hot Girl Summer in Quarantine

Martha Stewart can grow an entire pantry’s worth of vegetables, prune a boxwood shrub and bake the f–k out of a red raspberry pie. But she’s not suggesting you try any of that at home.

Because as much as she’s crafted her entire persona out of helping others access their inner lifestyle virtuoso–touting the importance of an organized cupboard, a perfectly curated cocktail and knowing precisely how to cook lobster–even she isn’t subscribing to the belief that we should all be using our quarantine to start making over our lives.

Asked by Dr. Oz during an April appearance on his talk show, “How are you going to be a better Martha Stewart when this is over?” she got all the way real. “I am going to scream and break every window within 10 miles if you say you get better with this kind of challenge,” she responded, inspiring stressed shut-ins around the world to start the slow clap. “I find that it’s the kind of person you are to start with. It’s hard to get better with such a disaster.”

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Stars’ Beauty and Fashion Looks in Quarantine

Though quarantine Martha is, as the kids say, a vibe. She’s unapologetically indulging in cocktails, making some jokes that would be decidedly out of place in her eponymous magazine and freely admitting just how much she misses her manicurist, hair dresser, make up artist and Bergdorfs colorist.

Not that she needs the help. Because with scant few skills left for her to master, the domestic doyenne, practically synonymous with the idea of East Coast preppy, has turned to the one perfected by Bachelor contestants and Instagram models the world over.

Yeah, “That’s definitely a thirst trap,” she admitted to Entertainment Tonight when quizzed about the July 21 snap she captured as she was climbing out of the pool at her four-bedroom East Hampton retreat. “My camera came on backwards, you know, selfie mode, and I looked so nice. The sun was on my face.” Feeling herself, she thought, “‘Oh, that looks pretty,'” she continued, “so I took the picture. It looked good.”

Good enough to earn the woman celebrating her 79th birthday today some “14 proposals”, she revealed last week on E!’s Daily Pop, and more than a few appreciative comments from those suddenly seeing the host of HGTV’s Martha Knows Best in a whole new light.

“Martha is here for a hot girl summer,” remarked one of her nearly one million followers on the ‘gram. Which certainly seems to be the case as Stewart fills her feed with videos of herself pounding butterflied chicken to the sounds of Rihanna and Drake‘s “Work,” agreeing to smoke a joint with Chelsea Handler and writing the type of racy captions that might make Cardi B blush.

But how exactly did the meticulously put together impresario become 2020’s answer to Megan Thee Stallion?

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First off, she’s basically living the quarantine life of our dreams. With 153 acres at her Bedford estate, her main digs roughly 50 miles outside of New York City, we can’t imagine there’d be cause for cabin fever and she’s got enough fresh rhubarb, spinach and other goodies in her garden to keep her whipping up homemade dinners and sugar-dusted clafouti for some time.

And she needn’t ever step foot in a gym to work off all those sweets, what with her collection of a Peleton bike, DB Method at-home squat machine and newly purchased Tonal, a $3,000 per month contraption that bills itself as “the smartest home gym.”

Plus she’s assembled quite the #squad, with driver Carlos, housekeeper Elvira and gardener Ryan McCallister bunking with her in Bedford–a group she’s affectionately (and hopefully, jokingly) taken to calling her “detainees.”

Days are spent seeing to the upkeep required to maintain Stewart’s exacting standards. “Since we’re at the house all the time we can work earlier and later and we get a lot more things done,” McCallister, who’s seen to the Martha Stewart Living empress’ vast collection of flora for nearly a decade, told Town & Country. “And Martha doesn’t just sit there and say, ‘Do that!’ She’s out there doing everything with you.”

And nights are reserved for cracking open a bottle of Dom Perignon, digging into home cooked fare and letting the cards fall where there they may. “We make a nice dinner every night. We have a cocktail. We play cards after dinner,” Stewart shared on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

And, guys, Martha Stewart can hang. We probably should have figured this out after the savage take down of Justin Bieber at his 2015 Comedy Central roast that saw her proclaiming, “Let’s get to the reason I’m here tonight, which is to give Justin Bieber some tips for when he inevitably ends up in prison. I’ve been in lock up, and you wouldn’t last a week, so, pay attention.”

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Someone who can slay and poke fun of herself? No wonder Snoop Dogg, her future cooking show cohort, labeled her “the funniest motherf–ker there.” And we never should have doubted the legendary rapper and marijuana connoisseur because here Stewart is in quarantine comin’ up with funky ass s–t like every single day.

While we’re all making Carole Baskin jokes and discovering the wonders that is TikTok, Stewart is living her best life driving tractors, taking the Flip the Switch challenge and indulging in enough Martha-ritas to leave this nonsensical caption on the Best Little Hen House In Texas’ post about their growing baby chicks: “M as me sure you feed and wAter them daily And keep the heat Iss as no BK in s as Nd when you can finally come back to nyc who is going to care for them??”

And while you might think a person as proper as Martha freaking Stewart might be embarrassed to so thoroughly expose a chink in their domestic armor, it turns out she doesn’t give AF. She simply commented on her post, “What a mess I have been drinking” and moved it along.

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Like most of us, Stewart has been imbibing in whatever she can find around the house. Except in her case that means a $383 bottle of Domaine Roulot Meursault Clos des Boucheres to play Gozo with her crew or whipping up her go-to quarantini, the “perfect Martha martini” calling for vermouth, lemon zest and a healthy serving of her beloved Belvedere vodka.

No wonder she’s got more than a few volunteers to join her tribe now that most of her staffers have flown the well-appointed coop. (Except gardener Ryan who knows he has a good thing going.) As one fan commented, “Where has this version of Martha been all my life!??”

Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Real talk: she’s been here all along. After all, this is a woman who’s admitted to sexting and paying a visit to a nude beach, someone who’s made as much effort to fit into good pal Snoop’s world as he has into hers, adding bling to her decidedly minimalist wardrobe and words like “fo shizzle” and “crack-a-lackin” to her vocabulary.

And she never once made a peep about him basically hotboxing her at Bieber’s roast a few years back.

“Snoop had all those, you don’t call them joints, you call them something else. Big fat ones,” she said weeks later during a stop on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “So I was totally high.” An unintended consequence to be sure, but one Snoop says made the show. “Her seat is right here, and mine is right here,” he would share with Howard Stern in 2018. “The whole roast, I’m just smokin’ dope. It’s just secondhand smoke, secondhand smoke. By the time she get up there to tell her jokes–she’s whacked out of her head, but she steals the f–king show.”

Consider her closer to the then-21-year-old pop star.

“Justin, before I go, here’s my final piece of advice: You have to settle down, bring some balance into your life, find yourself the right gal–but she’ll have to be someone on your level, someone powerful and famous and rich,” she summed up. “Someone you can smoke a joint with, or indulge in the occasional three-way. I’m talking about a player in the boardroom and a freak in the bedroom. So, Justin, my final piece of advice is: Call me.”

Which, Martha!

But to the stans who have been championing her all along that’s just “normal fantastic Martha,” as one follower put it. And while Bieber is very much taken, his bride, Hailey Bieber even making an appearance on Stewart’s new HGTV series, there are plenty of fish who wouldn’t mind swimming in the lifestyle guru’s pool.

No doubt she’s got their attention now.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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