Programming

UPFRONT & CENTER: Hallmark Unveils Movies, Sister Channel to Go HD

Hallmark Movie Channel HD to Launch April 2; Cable Network Unveils Slate of 30 Original Films 3/26/2008 12:02:00 AM Eastern

Hallmark Channel unveiled a production slate of 30 original movies that fit its family-friendly brand and said it will launch its sister network, Hallmark Movie Channel, in HD April 2.

Hallmark Channel

The network has successfully mined the breed of TV movie -- at a time when the networks have all done away with them -- into ratings gold and has begun work on new titles including Dean Cain, Mark Consuelos, Luke Perry and Vanessa Redgrave, to run on both channels.

The network made the announcements at its annual upfront presentation to press in New York Tuesday night.

Completed movies set to run in the next month include The Shell Seekers, about an artist’s daughter rebuilding her family after suffering a heart attack; and Shark Swarm, about great white sharks attacking residents of Half Moon Bay.

Movies in production include Dear Prudence, about an advice columnist who gets involved in a murder mystery when she tries to flee her life; Saving Grace, about an author torn between her fiancée and a new fireman in her life; and Second Honeymoon, about a couple struggling to conceive and the inspiration they find in Mexico.

“This is an extraordinary number of films and proves what we have known for years: that there is an insatiable desire for quality, family-friendly programming among viewers, advertisers and distributors,” executive vice president of programming David Kenin said.

Hallmark Movie Channel has been in beta phase, in several million homes, since 2004. It will launch in HD April 2 with a stunt in Peoria, Ill., that seeks to answer the question, “Will it play in Peoria?” The event will include a screening of Hallmark Hall of Fame movie The Magic of Ordinary Days and an address from the mayor.

Similar screenings are planned in the spring and summer in cities including Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla.

The 24-hour channel plays classical films, original Hallmark Channel movies and movies from the Hallmark Hall of Fame library.

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.

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