CBS postpones its Martha Stewart movie. Instead, the network will compete with big May sweeps stunts on Fox and ABC with its Amber Frey movie


On May 25, the final night of the all-important May ratings sweeps, when Fox crowns its American Idol winner and ABC offers a supersized Lost season finale, CBS had planned to compete by airing a ripped-from-the-headlines movie about a blonde involved in a much-talked-about courtroom drama. That’s still the CBS plan, but instead of airing its movie about Martha Stewart, it’s airing instead its movie about Scott Peterson paramour Amber Frey.

CBS had planned to premiere Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution, starring The West Wing‘s Janel Moloney as the woman who recently helped prosecutors convict Peterson of murdering his pregnant wife, on Sunday, May 22. Instead, the network announced Tuesday, it’ll move the film to Wednesday the 25th, opposite the Idol and Lost finales. Taking its place Sunday will be reruns from the CSI franchise.

The movie that had been scheduled for May 25, Martha: Behind Bars, features Cybill Shepherd reprising her role as Stewart from NBC’s highly rated 2003 Martha movie. The new film traces Stewart’s 2004 courtroom battle and her five-month imprisonment this past winter. CBS did not say why it was bumping the movie or when it would be rescheduled. Maybe it wasn’t going to be finished in time; it only started shooting at the end of March. Or maybe, given Stewart’s flurry of activity and new business ventures embarked upon since she traded prison for house arrest, the Shepherd project was having trouble keeping up with the real thing.