CROWN MEDIA UNVEILS BOLD, NEW DIRECTIONS IN PROGRAMMING FOR HALLMARK CHANNEL AND HALLMARK MOVIE CHANNEL AT THE ANNUAL UPFRONT PRESENTATION TO ADVERTISERS
Hallmark Channel Enters Into Original Series for First Time;
Hallmark Channel's New Original Daytime Lineup;
Acquisition of First-Run, Off-Network Comedy Series, "The Middle;"
Aggressive Production Slate for Both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel
New York, NY -- Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN), owner and operator of Crown Media Family Networks, home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel, today announced bold new directions in programming for its networks at the annual Upfront presentation for advertisers in New York City.
Crown Media announces that Hallmark Channel is in active development on two Original Series. Movie pilots for "Cedar Cove" and "When Calls the Heart" will be produced in 2012 for broadcast on Hallmark Channel in 2012-2013. Hallmark Channel, the undisputed leading producer of movies-made-for-television is going into Original Series for the first time in the young history of the network. [See standalone releases for First Ever Primetime Series].
Crown Media restated its enthusiasm for original lifestyle programs by announcing two new shows that will premiere on Hallmark Channel in Q4: "Marie!" is a one-hour talk show starring singer and entertainment icon, Marie Osmond, and will feature both celebrity and non-celebrity guests, revelatory discussion on socially important issues, and tips and trends for today's modern families. From Woody Fraser (creator of GOOD MORNING AMERICA, NIGHTLINE, and THE DICK CAVETT SHOW), comes "Home & Family," a daily, topical, two-hour entertainment show set on the Universal Studios lot. "Home & Family" tackles everything from child-rearing to balancing the budget, cooking to crafts. The show will be part of the daily backlot tour at Universal and guests attending the park are invited to be part of the studio audience. Hosts for the series will be announced shortly. As Fraser is known for, drop-in guests and unexpected surprises will keep the show fresh and lively. [See standalone releases for "Marie!" and "Home & Family"].
Crown Media announces that Hallmark Channel has acquired the first-run, off-network comedy juggernaut, "The Middle." The half-hour show evokes the perspective of stuck in the middle, middle aged mom "Frankie" Heck (played by Emmy(R) Award-winner Patricia Heaton, "Everybody Loves Raymond") for an honest portrayal of real life in the American middle-class. The first 88 episodes will begin airing in March 2014. Additional full seasons will air as they become available. [See standalone release on "The Middle"].
Crown Media also announced the industry's largest producer of movies-made-for-television, Hallmark Channel, has cleared development for 28 Original Movies in varying stages of production to premiere on the network from Q4 2012 through Q3 2013. Among the new offerings: Patricia Heaton's "The Christmas Heart," starring Teri Polo and Tess Harper; Annie Potts in "The Music Teacher," Hallmark Channel's first-ever musical drama with original songs penned by former Madonna composer, Allan Ett; "Tom, Dick & Harriett" stars Steven Weber; "Meddling Mom" features Latin sensations Sonia Braga and Tony Plana; "The Confession," is the second story in Beverly Lewis' popular book series Heritage of Lancaster County and stars Sherry Stringfield, Katie LeClerc and Cameron Stewart; and Hallmark Channel's ratings blockbuster COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS featuring more original holiday films than any other network. [See standalone release for Hallmark Channel Original Movies].
Crown Media announces that Hallmark Movie Channel will up its 2013 production slate to 9 Original Movies as the network continues its steady rise as a "must have" cable television network. Titles in Hallmark Movie Channel's Q4 2012-Q3 2013 slate include: "Common Law," "Shadow on the Mesa," starring Kevin Sorbo, Meredith Baxter, Gail O'Grady and Greg Evigan; Luke Perry returns as Executive Producer and star of the next incarnation of GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE, "Queen of Hearts," which also stars Ricky Schroder; "After All These Years," "Norman Rockwell's Shuffleton Barbershop," "Garage Sale Stalker," "My George," "Terminally Single Woman" and "Home Sweet Home." [See standalone release for HMC Originals].
"This is the most exciting Upfront presentation in the young history of our networks," said Bill Abbott, President & CEO, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.
"In primetime, Hallmark Channel will enter into the world of Original Series with movie pilots - 'Cedar Cove' and 'When Calls the Heart' - being produced later this year for broadcast in 2013. A first for our young networks, and we are thrilled.
"In Daytime, we are thrilled to launch the first two new original lifestyle series to be developed wholly in-house with our producing partners.
"Marie! is a little bit country and so much more, a perfect match with the Hallmark brand, and we are so delighted to be in business with Marie Osmond.
"Woody Fraser has created more news and talk show hits than any other producer. 'Home & Family,' promises to blend all of the brand attributes consumers love about Hallmark's celebration of special occasions with high-energy entertainment and information that benefits families every day.
"Hallmark Channel offers more original movies than any other network. Our Hallmark Channel Original Movies are tied to prominent holidays, particularly, Christmas. In 2012, the network will offer more holiday original movies in our COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS campaign that we have ever have before. Our air, online and social media sites will be wrapped in wall to-wall Christmas, because we know how much our viewers anticipate the experience.
"Lastly, we are so enthusiastic about the direction of our second linear network, Hallmark Movie Channel, which has TV viewers rediscovering their family rooms more and more every day. With more original filmed entertainment, great storytelling and big stars, Hallmark Movie Channel will continue to be one of the most requested new cable TV networks by increasing its offering of original content viewers won't see anywhere else," Abbott concluded.
Crown Media Family Networks is the umbrella unit of Crown Media Holdings, Inc., which houses Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. The company operates and distributes both channels in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) with Hallmark Channel available to 87 million subscribers in the U.S. and Hallmark Movie Channel in nearly 47 million homes. Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading network in providing quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and general entertainment, and is the home of The Martha Stewart Show and other lifestyle content. Hallmark Movie Channel is one of America's fastest-growing cable networks and provides family-friendly movies with a mix of classic theatrical films, presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library, original Hallmark Channel movies and special events. In addition, Crown Media Family Networks also includes the online offerings of HallmarkChannel.com and HallmarkMovieChannel.com.