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Host, A Touch of Encouragement on www.BeliefNet.com – a twice weekly video blog, etc.;
Executive producer, Touched by an Angel (CBS – 1994-2003);
25 year writing & producing credits include The Facts of Life, Under One Roof, Jack’s Place and Promised Land, etc.;
Awards include: The Freedom Works Award from the US Congress, The Producer’s Guild Nova Award, the Edward R. Murrow Responsibility in Television Award, awards from the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, The Excellence in Media Award, and the Templeton Award;
BA, Williams College.
CBN.com Touched by an Angel ran for nines years on CBS – from 1994 thru 2003. It consistently placed in the top 10 shows and was viewed by 24 million viewers each week. Starring Della Reese (“Tess”), Roma Downy (“Monica”), and John Dye (“Andrew”), the consistent message was God exists. He loves us and wants to be a part of our lives. And for three of the years, Martha was also the executive producer of the spin-off show Promised Land.
In the five years since the end of Touched by an Angel, Martha says she has gotten her life back. She and her husband, Jon Andersen, went to China and adopted two daughters. Then they spent months traveling across the U.S. in an RV, rediscovering and getting back in touch with the heartland.
It was actually quite a transition. For years, Martha was going 100 miles an hour, with a very high level of visibility, including at one point 400 employees and being interviewed by Ed Bradley, Larry King, and Oprah. A high point came after a meeting with Senator Brownback, which led to Martha writing an episode about slavery in Sudan. This resulted in a screening on Capitol Hill that ultimately affected legislation and changed lives in practical ways. Then overnight her life was moving at zero miles an hour and is now filled with Brownies and PTA meetings. Her choices have been governed by putting God and her family first, creating an absence from high profile work.
Back in Los Angeles by the time her girls entered preschool, Martha’s next milestone was turning 50. She got serious about doing things she had always wanted to do by that age. She wrote a one woman show and performed it several times at the Pasadena Playhouse and in Williamstown, MA. She did some teaching and wrote some TV pilots. While autopsies and murders have recently ruled primetime, Martha feels the pendulum needs to swing back towards uplifting TV. Another goal was getting healthy and under the care of her physician, she has lost 120 pounds.
'A TOUCH OF ENCOURAGEMENT’
Martha had a business breakfast with a friend who is a Christian businessman in New York City. Their conversation stretched through the morning. As Martha was getting ready to depart, her friend’s lunch appointment arrived. It was Steve Waldman, co-founder of the Web site, BeliefNet.com. Martha was surprised when Steve said that BeliefNet.com would not exist if it had not been for Touched by an Angel. He credited the series with helping the public talk about faith and values. Because it is a multi-faith Web site (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, etc.), Martha’s first reaction when Steve mentioned he would love to have her as a part of BeliefNet, was to dismiss it. Until she heard the inner voice of the Lord say, “Keep your mind open.” She realized this would allow her to go where many Christians are not. Martha wants to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.
Launched last month, Martha now has two inspirational video posts each week called “A Touch of Encouragement,” as well as a regular blog the rest of the week. Instead of one or two line responses to her postings, Martha is getting long responses, as folks pour out their hearts to her. Martha has always seen herself as part of a bridge between groups and she wants to encourage folks to log on to her Web site, where they can reach out to each other, from all part of the world, post comments, share Scriptures, and become a community that encourages each other.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.