Crown Media Family Networks’ President & CEO Bill Abbott and Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming and Network Program Publicity, celebrated the exceptional ratings growth and success of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries with announcements of distribution and programming expansions at the 2015 Summer Press Tour for TV writers and critics.
Crown Media and AT&T U-verse launched Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in High Definition last week, reaching millions of additional viewers.
“Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has experienced exponential growth and success this past year,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “We’re thrilled to have both networks expand their reach to millions more dedicated viewers with our distribution partner, AT&T U-verse.”
“With our tremendous growth we are proud to partner with exceptional talent in the industry for our upcoming original series and movies,” said Michelle Vicary, EVP, Programming and Publicity, Crown Media Family Networks. “We have an incredibly diverse slate with new original series starring award-winning talent to more holiday programming than ever before throughout the year in the television landscape.”
Below are highlights from the event:
Hallmark Channel and Brad Krevoy Television are joining forces with musical superstar Mariah Carey on “Mariah Carey’s Christmas Project,” which will commence principal photography in October and air on Hallmark Channel December 2015.
Both networks are rapidly expanding their lineups of original shows. Hallmark Channel will feature a diverse and extensive slate of original programs into 2016. Starting Saturday, October 31, Hallmark Channel kicks off its signature holiday event, Countdown to Christmas. This highly anticipated annual tradition features an unprecedented lineup of 16 original movies, including five back-to-back nights of world movie premieres over Thanksgiving weekend for viewers to feast on.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, which has experienced exponential growth since rebranding to the mystery genre, announced development of two brand-new mystery movie series franchises from Golden Globe® nominee Brooke Shields based on the bestselling novels “Flower Shop Mysteries” and from top-rated talk show host Nancy Grace, based on her popular Hailey Dean books. The channel also announced four new movies over the next year for its popular “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” franchise. Of course, viewers can expect fresh installments of its popular Mystery Series franchises – “Murder She Baked,” “Gourmet Detective,” “Aurora Teagarden” and “Garage Sale Mystery.” Like its sister network, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will also boost its lineup to ring in the holiday season during the programming event The Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas, featuring five new original movies including the much anticipated movie based on Debbie Macomber’s “Dashing Through The Snow” Christmas novel.
Highlights from Hallmark Channel’s upcoming 2015 Programming:
Hallmark Channel: Original Primetime Series:
“Chesapeake Shores **New Limited Movie Series
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-Nominated Actor Treat Williams and Jesse Metcalfe have been cast in the new limited series, to premiere this Fall.
Abby O’Brien Winters returns to Chesapeake Shores when she receives a panicked phone call from her younger sister Jess, who has renovated the charming Inn at Eagle Point. The Maryland town her father built has many sad memories and Abby, thanks to her demanding career, divorce and young twin daughters, has not had time to spare. Saving the inn from foreclosure means dealing not only with her fractured family but also with Trace Riley, the man she left ten years ago. Trace initially poses an obstacle but becomes an unexpected ally and a second chance at finding love.
Cast: Jesse Metcalfe and Treat Williams
Airdate: Series Premiere – Fall 2015
“When Calls the Heart” **Season Three Renewal
Hallmark Channel’s most social original series of all-time, is renewed for a third season. The sweeping frontier drama captured the hearts of millions and became the
network’s most social series ever. A special two-hour sneak peek will premiere in Holiday 2015 with the remaining 10 episodes premiering on Sundays at 8pm ET/PT, 7C in February 2016.
Cast: Lori Loughlin, Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, Jack Wagner and Kristina Wagner.
Airdate: Two-Hour Sneak Peek Holiday 2015; Sundays at 8pm ET/PT, 7C in February 2016.
The Magic Continues: “Good Witch” begins production on season two in August with a special sneak peek at the first two hours of the season this October. Though her magic always has us spellbound, Cassie Nightingale can never predict what excitement will brew in her life with her enchanting daughter, Grace and handsome neighbor, Dr. Sam Radford. Cassie takes on all the fun and romance of life one day or one spell at a time.
Cast: Catherine Bell, James Denton and Bailee Madison
Airdate: Two-hour Sneak Peek October 2015.
“Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove”
The third season of Hallmark Channel’s first-ever original series that captivated viewers is the #1 primetime drama on Saturdays at 8pm. Based on the bestselling book series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, Season three returns viewers to a majestic and idyllic small seaside town of Cedar Cove, home to romance, relationships and drama. At the center of it all is Olivia Lockhart, the revered Cedar Cove Municipal Court judge, lifetime resident, loving mother and loyal friend to many. As Olivia’s romance with newspaper editor Jack hangs in the balance following a shocking discovery, Olivia, along with her family and friends, will find her small town is bursting with more drama -and heart – than ever before. The special two-hour season three finale will air on Saturday, September 19.
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Sarah Smyth, Brennan Elliott, Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven and special guest star Colin Ferguson.
Airdate: Saturdays, 8:00 pm/7:00 pm CT
Hallmark Channel: Upcoming World Premiere ORIGINAL MOVIES
“Lead With Your Heart”
William Baldwin stars in and executive produces “Lead With Your Heart” premiering on August 29. Kari Matchett, Steven Love and Amy Forsyth Co-Star. Ben and Maura have been married for years and are in a rut. When a job opportunity temporarily takes Maura out of town the couple is forced to live separate lives and begins to worry that the physical distance – and their impending status as empty-nesters – will create a bigger divide. Concerned that their happy family is at risk, their two teenage children step in and scheme to get them back together and help their parents realize how much they still need each other.
Cast: William Baldwin, Kari Matchett
Airdate: August 29, 2015
“Love on the Air”
Alison Sweeney and Jonathan Scarfe tune in for ‘Love On The Air,’ premiering on September 26. When a female radio host abruptly gets dumped by her boyfriend on-air, she needs to quickly put the pieces back together in her life. But just when things can’t get worse for her, she discloses her story to a co-worker, not realizing that he is a shock jock that exposes
her humiliating story on air. Now, the enemies must work together and may just find they have more in common than they first thought.
Cast: Allison Sweeney, Jonathan Scarfe
Airdate: September 26, 2015
Jill Wagner stars in Country Girl, premiering on October 3. Young and madly in love, Annie and Ben run away from her family farm and elope, but the marriage ends before it can begin when her parents have it immediately annulled. Years later they discover a paperwork glitch which means they’re still husband and wife — big problem since they’re both about to marry other people! While the clock ticks away toward their respective weddings, the sparks fly as they’re forced to re-unite to make their divorce legal.
Cast: Jill Wagner
Airdate: October 3, 2015
Jessy Schram, Jesse Hutch and Willie Aames star in “Harvest Moon” premiering on October 17. When her family goes bankrupt, privileged city girl Jen Stone travels to the country to try and fix up a struggling pumpkin farm that her father bought as an investment to get her money back. Not everyone is on board with her changes, least of all Brett, the farm’s handsome manager. By working with what she knows best, she discovers the magic of pumpkin skincare and turns the struggling farm around while also falling in love.
Cast: Jessy Schram, Jesse Hutch, Willie Aames
Airdate: October 17, 2015
“Jesse Stone: Lost In Paradise”
Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner Tom Selleck stars with Golden Globe® and Emmy® nominated William Devane, Leslie Hope and TV icon Luke Perry in the ninth installment of the famed detective-movie series “Jesse Stone: Lost In Paradise;” World premiere October 18 on Hallmark Channel and October 25 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Based on the bestselling books by Robert, B. Parker, the 10th anniversary of the iconic Jesse Stone series is the first ‘Jesse Stone’ original produced exclusively for Crown Media Family Networks. With things running smoothly in Paradise, Police Chief Jesse Stone agrees to serve as a consultant on an unsolved murder case in Boston, which leads him on a deadly quest to bring a serial killer to justice.
Cast: Tom Selleck, Gloria Reuben, William Devane, Luke Perry
Airdate: October 18 (Hallmark Channel); October 25 (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
Ashley Williams and Sam Yaeger star in “Temporarily Yours,” premiering on October 26. Poppy Summerall is hired near Halloween as a temporary nanny by Ryan Lawson, a widowed, work-obsessed executive. Through a series of adventures, the eternally optimistic Poppy sets out to teach Ryan and his two young children what is important in life – unconditional love, family and the joy of everyday occurrences. Poppy and Ryan soon find they are drawn to each other. Could it become more than temporary?
Cast: Ashley Williams, Sam Yaeger
Airdate: October 26, 2015
***Hallmark Channel: ‘COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS’ – starting Saturday, October 31, this highly anticipated annual event features an unprecedented lineup of 16 original movies, including five back-to-back nights of original movie world premieres over Thanksgiving weekend for viewers to feast on. A detailed schedule will be released in the coming weeks. Below are some highlights:
Tis The Season For Love
Sarah Lancaster and Brendan Penny star in ‘Tis The Season For Love,’ premiering on November 14. The holiday drama follows an out-of-work actress who returns to her quaint hometown, where a Christmas romance proves the life she once left behind could turn out to be even better than Broadway.
Cast: Sarah Lancaster, Brendan Penny
Airdate: November 14, 2015
“Northpole 2: Open for Christmas”
Lori Loughlin, Dermot Mulroney and Bailee Madison star in “Northpole 2: Open for Christmas” premiering on November 21. When Mackenzie Reed inherits her beloved aunt’s once-majestic hotel, she decides the sensible thing to do is to sell it before Christmas. But fixing up the rundown place while managing the hotel staff (including the handyman and his kids) and dealing with demanding guests is harder than it seems. But she gets some unexpected help as Clementine and a group of Elves arrive on a special mission from Santa, lending their Guilds’ expertise to fixing up the Hotel, and helping Mackenzie re-discover hidden talents and the true meaning of Christmas cheer.
Cast: Lori Loughlin, Dermot Mulroney, Bailee Madison
Airdate: November 21, 2015
“Ice Sculpture Christmas”
Rachel Boston and Emmy® Nominee Brenda Strong star in “Ice Sculpture Christmas,” premiering on November 26 After starting her first job at a country club restaurant, Callie – an aspiring chef – reconnects with her childhood friend David, whose wealthy family is a member of the club. When David enters Callie into the club’s annual Christmas ice sculpting competition without her knowledge, she’s forced to go head-to-head with her boss, Chef Gloria. Even though ice sculpting is cold work, sparks are ignited between Callie and David as they prepare for the competition as a team. Callie’s passions for cooking and ice sculpting are met with romance and Christmas spirit as she works to create the perfect sculpture. Cast: Rachel Boston, Brenda Strong and David Alpay.
Airdate: November 26, 2015
“Crown For Christmas”
Danica McKellar stars in “Crown for Christmas,” premiering on November 27. Allie, a fired maid from a ritzy NYC hotel, takes a job as a governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful family in Europe. After reluctantly accepting, and upon arrival at the castle, learns the girl is Princess Theodora and that her father is Maximillion, the King of Winshire. Max informs Allie that the Princess prides herself on terrorizing authority figures and has gotten worse since her mother’s death. As the story unfolds, we see Allie bond with Theodora and also helps to bring Theodora and her father together. And through all of this, a spark forms between Allie and Max. However, Countess Celia is expecting to wed the King. Will Max take a stand for his feelings for Allie and make it truly a merry Christmas for all?
Cast: Danica McKellar, Rupert Penry Jones
Airdate: November 27, 2015
“On Time For Christmas”
Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene, Sarah Strange and David Lewis star in “On Time For Christmas,” premiering on November 28. Two NYC bound travelers find themselves inextricably linked when a snowstorm waylays their flight to an airport hotel in Buffalo. Eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, Paige Summers, desperately needs to find a way to the city to meet her fiance’s parents before her wedding – and it’s up to a guy she can’t stand, fellow passenger and total stranger Dylan MacKenzie, who is permanently soured on romance after his girlfriend broke his heart. Still Dylan rises to the occasion to become Paige’s off-white Knight in shining armor. Joining them are Frank & Maxine Gambert, who are heading to Connecticut to spend Christmas with their daughter. As their madcap adventure ensues, our foursome will be forced to face a lot more surprises than the ever changing snowstorm preventing each of them from getting home.
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Paul Greene, Sarah Strange & David Lewis
Airdate: November 28, 2015
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries: Upcoming Original Movie World Premieres
“Gourmet Detective: A Healthy Place To Die”
Viewers are craving for Dylan Neal and Brooke Burns to reunite in the latest installment in the “Gourmet Detective” mystery movie franchise premiering on August 2. Henry Ross (Neal), prominent chef and charming culinary expert, once again joins forces with no-nonsense police detective Maggie Price (Burns) when a guest at a luxurious resort is found murdered. Everyone’s a suspect and put into question by the duo, including one of the hotel restaurant’s chefs, Gretchen (Crystal Lowe, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”). A generous helping of suspense is served as Henry uses his vast culinary knowledge, and, with the help of Maggie, tries to crack the case before the killer gets away.
Cast: Dylan Neal, Brooke Burns
Airdate: August 2, 2015
“Garage Sale Mystery: The Wedding Dress”
Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange, Steve Bacic and Cheryl Ladd star in the latest “Garage Sale Mystery” premiering on August 9. Jennifer Shannon has an eye for antiques and a mind for solving mysteries. She stumbles upon a vintage wedding dress at an estate sale with a hidden pocket containing what appears to be a clue. Jenn tracks down the bride who is now a pillar of society and the best man. Where is the groom? That is a question that remains unanswered for over 30 years. Was this a case of cold feet or cold blooded murder.
Cast: Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange, Steve Bacic and Cheryl Ladd
Airdate: August 9, 2015
“Love Under the Stars”
Ashley Newbrough, Wes Brown and Barry Bostwick star in “Love Under the Stars” premiering on August 15. When a 30-something woman living in an infinite state of youth is finally forced to graduate from college and go out into the real world, she befriends a young girl and a widower that will teach her that it is okay to grow up.
Cast: Ashley Newbrough, Wes Brown, Barry Bostwick
Airdate: August 15, 2015
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Truth Be Told”
Gregory Harrison guest stars in the latest movie from the popular franchise premiering on September 13. The Postables work against the clock decoding a letter to rescue a soldier in Afghanistan and reunite her with her family, while Rita competes for the National Miss Special Delivery title in Washington, D.C.
Cast: Eric Mabius, Crystal Lowe, Geoff Gufstafson, Kristin Booth, Gregory Harrison
Airdate: September 13, 2015
“Hello, It’s Me”
Kellie Martin stars in “Hello, It’s Me,” based on the novel by New York Times bestselling author Wendy Markham. A woman coping with the loss of her husband and the task of raising two children on her own meets a handsome rich man but doesn’t feel right about pursuing anything. That’s when she begins receiving messages from her deceased husband urging her to move on and heal.
Cast: Kellie Martin, Kavan Smith
Airdate: September 27, 2015
“Beverly Lewis: The Reckoning”
Katie LeClerc reprises her role in network fan favorite “The Reckoning,” premiering on October 18. Katie Mayfield is now the mistress of Mayfield Manor, the estate passed down from her birth mother. In her new world she finds solace in honoring her mother’s memory and in love with Justin Wirth, the Director of her foundation. Katie finds herself torn between two worlds and grieves for her plain Amish life. Unknown to Katie, Daniel Fisher, her lost love, makes a desperate attempt to find her. Does Katie choose her new life or the simple heritage she left behind? This is her great reckoning.
Cast: Katie LeClerc and Jacob Blair
Airdate: October 18, 2015
“Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery”
Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison and Barbara Niven star in the second installment of the “Murder She Baked” franchise, premiering on November 15. The Cookie Jar’s busiest time of the year also happens to be the most wonderful time…for Christmas cookies, Hannah’s own special plum pudding . She’s busy as can be and loving it. She also gets a kick out of ‘Lunatic Larry Jaeger’s Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot’, a kitschy carnival taking place smack-dab in the middle of the village green. Larry thinks he’s crazy like a fox with his wild business schemes, but this time, the entrepreneur may have bitten off more than he can chew. Rumor has it that Larry’s in the red – an idea that takes a sinister turn when Hannah discovers he’s dead in his own office…It seems there are quite a few suspects – including his bitter ex-wife, his ex-partner’s daughter, a woman he was wooing, and the Crazy Elf Tree lot’s extremely exasperated investors…Now, with so many suspects to investigate and the twelve days of Christmas ticking away, Hannah’s running out of time to nab a murderous Scrooge who
doesn’t want her to see the New Year. Based on the Hannah Swensen mystery series by ‘New York Times’ bestselling author Joanne Fluke.
Cast: Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison, Barbara Niven
Airdate: November 15, 2015
“Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge Part 1”
Wyatt Nash stars in the most anticipated novel adaptation of the year, “Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge,” premiering November 29, 2015. Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare love that she hasn’t found since. Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. Sometimes when he’s lonely he visits The Bridge – The oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin – and remembers the hours he and Molly once spent there. For more than four decades, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing customers with coffee, conversation, and shelves of classics – even through dismal sales and the rise of digital books. Then the hundred-year flood sweeps through Franklin and destroys everything. The bank is about to pull the store’s lease when tragedy strikes. Now the question remains: Can two generations of readers rally together to save The Bridge? And is it possible that an unforgettable love might lead to the miracle of a second chance?
Cast: Wyatt Nash
Airdate: November 29, 2015