Upfronts 2012: Hallmark Developing First Scripted Primetime Series
Confirms Marie Osmond talk show, new daytime series ‘Home & Family' for Q4
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/14/2012 2:37:55 PMComplete Coverage: Upfronts 2012
New York - Hallmark Channel is developing two original scripted primetime series, a first for the independently owned cable network, it announced at its upfront event here Wednesday afternoon.
The two series, scheduled for a 2013 premiere, are based on concepts from authors Debbie Macomber and Janette Oke, both who have had their work previously developed for movies on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, called the scripted development "a major move forward for the network."
Macomber's Cedar Cove centers on characters in a small Pacific Northwest town, while Oke's When Calls the Heart is a period drama about a wealthy young woman from the East Coast who becomes a teacher in a frontier town. Both series have movies in production to air as back-door pilots in the 2012-13 season, with the series to debut later in 2013.
Hallmark also confirmed it has signed a deal with Marie Osmond to host a new one-hour daytime talk show Marie! to air weekday afternoons staring in the fourth quarter. The program replaces The Martha Stewart Show on the channel, which will end original episodes in April and continue in repeats throughout the summer. The network's agreement with its other Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia programs like Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn runs through 2013.
In a first for the network, both new daytime shows will be wholly owned and operated by Crown Media Family Networks.
Joining Marie in the fourth quarter is the new daytime series Home & Family, a hosted series originating from a Midwestern-style, 2800-square-foot house on the Universal Studios lot. The two-hour series from creator Woody Fraser, whose hosts are to be announced, will feature segments on design, home improvement, automotive, gardening and cooking, among others.
Also announced Wednesday, Hallmark has acquired Warner Bros.' The Middle for a March 2014 debut on the network.
In original movies, Hallmark Channel has 28 movies in production to premiere in 2012-13 and Hallmark Movie Channel has nine new movies on its 2013 production slate. The channel wills also begin production on the animated special Jingle & Bell for the 2012 holiday season, the second special based on the Hallmark Cards character Jingle the Husky Pup.
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