HALLMARK CHANNEL INCREASES PROGRAMMING TO 35 ORIGINAL MOVIES FOR '09-'10 UPFRONT SEASON
Most Ambitious Production Slate in the Network's History
Hallmark Channel today unveiled an aggressive programming slate of 35 original movies for the '09-'10 upfront season (4Q '09 - 3Q '10) marking the most ambitious line-up in the network's history and making the cabler the leading provider of original movies. This expanded schedule serves the growing demand for family-friendly content, as evidenced by the channel's Prime Time ratings success
Hallmark Channel will continue to premiere its original movies on Saturday nights at 9 p.m., ET/PT. The consistent timeslot has helped the channel build a strong and loyal audience � establishing it as THE family movie destination week-after-week.
"Original movies have always been the centerpiece of our schedule," said David Kenin, Executive Vice President, Programming, Hallmark Channel. "The format allows us to deliver content that consistently reflects our brand, in turn, helping us build a loyal audience hungry for the type of programming we offer � uplifting, inspirational, feel-good movies that provide predictability in this unpredictable world."
2009-to-date vs. 2008-to-date, Hallmark Channel's original movie ratings are experiencing positive momentum averaging a 2.4 HH rating with 3.8 million total viewers. A25-54 and W25-54 demos are up markedly with +26% and +30% increases, respectively.
Hallmark Channel is currently in various stages of development and production on the 35 movies. The following is a sampling of movies:
Seth Webster is a frustrated, single father who can't find a housekeeper to manage his overly energetic twin sons. When a seemingly magical housekeeper arrives at Christmastime, she helps Seth move on after his wife's death and find new love that brings the family together again. Executive produced by Dan Wigutow and directed by Michael Scott.
"The National Tree"
Willful Oregon teenager Rock Burdock (Evan Williams, "Save the Last Dance 2") wins a national Christmas tree contest and convinces Corey (Andrew McCarthy, "Lipstick Jungle"), his overprotective father, to move the fifteen-year-old tree that commemorates Rock's birth to Washington, D.C. Corey, in turn, persuades Rock to transport the tree on a road trip across the country so he and his son can enjoy some quality time together. Although not excited about the idea, Rock agrees, and the journey turns out to be an adventure that strengthens the bonds between father and son. Executive produced by Gerald Abrams and Cotty Chubb; produced by Paul Goldman. Graeme Clifford directs from a script written by J.B. White and adapted from a novel by David Kranes.
"A Soldier's Love Story"
A young boy's letter to a soldier serving overseas forever changes lives. Through a series of letters, Jared Marshall and Sgt. Vince Carerra bond over a love of baseball. Jared reveals his loneliness and estrangement from his dad after his parents divorce. When Vince returns home, he meets Jared and his mother, Dana (Lori Loughlin, "90210"). The two begin to fall in love. Complications arise when Vince gets his orders to deploy. Vince and Dana discover that true love can overcome any obstacle. Also stars Stephanie Powers ("Hart to Hart"). Executive produced by Larry Levinson; produced by Brian Gordon and Jim Wilberger.
Johnetta "Johnny" Prentis' (Julie Benz, "Dexter") world is turned upside down in beautiful and scenic wine country. Johnny is a high-powered executive on the fast track and definitely not looking to fall in love. When a business conference takes her to wine country she meets handsome widower and Chef Andrew Browning (Scott Elrod, "Men in Trees"). Over the weekend, Johnny loses her job when her company is taken over by a competitor. Andrew invites Johnny home to meet his family, and in helping his parents' winery, she begins to fall in love with him and his family. When Johnny is offered another high-powered position, she must choose between Andrew and her highly ambitious career. Also stars JoBeth Williams ("Dexter") and Elliott Gould ("Ocean's Thirteen"). Produced by LG Films Productions in association with Larry Levinson Productions. Larry Levinson is the executive producer; Brian Gordon and Jim Wilberger are the producers. Dave Cass directs from a script written by Jim Head.
Hallmark Channel is in development on the following eight original movies:
"Christmas in Canaan"
In the rural town of Canaan, Texas, a clash between two classmates � one, a tough farm boy, and the other, a bright bookish black boy � evolves into an unlikely friendship. The boys' families devise a plan to teach them a lesson after they fight, but it is a wounded puppy that eventually brings them together. It is amidst the magic of Christmas that the boys learn about family, hope and love despite living under the shadow of racism. Executive produced by Margaret Loesch and Dan Angel; David Paymer directs from a script written by Donald Davenport. The movie is based on the book "Christmas in Canaan" by Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport.
"The Christmas Gift"
Three spirited orphans get their best Christmas gifts ever�a family. When their orphanage is closed for repairs over Christmas, the boys are sent to temporarily live with a childless couple. The couple falls in love with the boys, but isn't sure about adopting three children. The boys begin to compete with each other, only to discover that they too have become an inseparable family. Executive produced by Larry Levinson.
"Home Sweet Home"
A career-driven fashion designer returns to her small hometown when she gets word that her grandmother is ill. There she discovers the town is undergoing tough economic times. At the same time, she reunites with her high school beau. After losing both her grandmother and her job, she finds new meaning in life when she helps a friend launch an alternative energy system that helps her beloved hometown. Executive produced by Larry Levinson.
"The Night Before The Night Before Christmas"
Charley and Eileen Fox, together with their children, Hannah and Toby, find themselves on December 23 without a tree, presents or Christmas spirit. Like too many modern families, they have grown apart, too busy with their individual lives and schedules to spend time together, even on the holidays. All of this is about to change when, due to elf error, Santa sets out on the night before Christmas Eve and crashes on the roof of the Fox home. Santa's sleigh is disabled, his magic gift bag is missing, and even worse, he has amnesia! Will Christmas be lost or can the Fox family come together and save Christmas and, in the process, their holiday traditions? Executive produced by Rob Lee and Joel Rice; written by James Orr and Jim Cruickshank.
An unruly pound puppy is the last thing that single mom Abby Nelson needs. But how can she say 'no' when her daughter, Katelyn, is having a tough time with their recent move to her dad's retirement home. In just one day, Katelyn has fallen in love with the scraggly mutt. When Ben Fallon, a handsome former baseball player and the rightful owner of the puppy, steps forward Abby and her family decide to share custody of the dog. In the midst of their differences of raising an unruly puppy, Abby and Ben begin to fall in love. Executive produced by Larry Levinson.
"Shadow on the Mesa"
After his mother's death, Wes Corbin, a young, half-Indian gunfighter, meets the white father he has never known. When a dangerous range war breaks out, it's up to Wes to defend his new family. Executive produced by Larry Levinson.
"The Wild Girl"
Ned Giles, an aspiring news photographer, joins the 1932 Great Apache Expedition on the search for a young boy, the son of a wealthy Mexican land owner who was kidnapped by wild Apaches. Ned finds himself on an unexpected and perilous journey through rugged terrain, when a captured wild Apache girl must be exchanged for the kidnapped boy. Executive produced by David Helpern, Bill Stewart and Joel Rice; based on the book "The Wild Girl" by Jim Fergus; script written by Ron Parker.
Buddy Hoyt wants to be a 'somebody,' but he's just an ordinary man with an ordinary life and his finance likes him just the way he is. Buddy gets his wish after an accident when he is gifted with the ability to heal others. Life gets complicated when Buddy learns that he is draining his own energy every time he heals someone else�it may even kill him. Will Buddy choose his new-found fame over the woman he loves? Executive produced by Larry Levinson.
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media U.S., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming to a national audience of 86 million subscribers. The top tier program service is distributed through more than 5,450 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel consistently ranks among the top 10 ad-supported cable networks in Prime Time and Total Day household ratings and is the nation's leading network in providing quality family programming. Crown Media also operates a second 24-hour linear channel which plays the greatest family movies of all time, Hallmark Movie Channel, and launched Hallmark Movie Channel HD in April, 2008.