Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is kicking it up a notch by bringing in a new celebrity: popular TV chef Emeril Lagasse...

Share story

NEW YORK — Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is kicking it up a notch by bringing in a new celebrity: popular TV chef Emeril Lagasse.

The media and merchandising company founded by domesticity maven Martha Stewart said Tuesday that it bought the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of cookbooks, television shows and kitchen products for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock at closing. The final price could rise to up to $70 million if certain benchmarks are achieved.

Martha Stewart did not acquire Emeril’s Homebase, which includes Lagasse’s 11 restaurants and his corporate office.

Lagasse remains the host of the Food Network’s “Essence of Emeril,” but the food-network channel ceased production of “Emeril Live” late last year, though it will continue to air new episodes in 2008.

On Tuesday, the Food Network said, “We are happy to see that these two great brands will be combining forces and wish both of them the best. All of Emeril’s shows will remain on the network, and we also look forward to working with him on future projects.”