Hallmark Rubs Out Cable Execs


Hallmark Channel is killing cable operators -- on TV, that is.
The channel, occasionally derided as saccharine, is fighting back. It is casting execs in non-speaking roles in three murder mysteries. Its first victim: Abby Aaronson, Adelphia Communications vice president of programming. She plays a mother murdered by her daughter in one of the Mystery Woman movies airing in January.

When Hallmark’s head of affiliate sales Janice Arouh first pitched the idea, Aaronson balked. But her kids insisted, so Aaronson, whose only acting experience was limited to summer camp, relented.

Now Hallmark wants to offer roles to other cable execs in upcoming Mystery Woman films, as well as in McBride, starring John Larroquette, and Jane Doe, featuring Lea Thompson. “Once in a while, we get branded as too serious, too sentimental,” says programming chief Dave Kenin.

“We thought it would be fun to put the cable community in.” Note to execs: Keep your day jobs.