THE LEADING DESTINATION FOR ORIGINAL, QUALITY, FAMILY CONTENT,
UNVEILS ITS 2013-14 PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE AT ANNUAL UPFRONT
Hallmark Channel Green Lights Second Primetime Series; Three Back-Door Pilots in Development Based on Works From Award-Winning Writers, All Part of 2013 New Original Movie Lineup; Walden Family Theatre New Appointment Viewing Franchise
Hallmark Channel, the nation's leading destination for original, quality family programming, announces "When Calls The Heart," an original Hallmark Channel movie to premiere October 5, 2013, as the two-hour back door pilot and newest primetime series for a January 2014 premiere, Walden Family Theatre rolls out with all new original Friday night movies, 13 original movies to premiere on the network Q2-Q4 2013, including three new pilot-to-series projects in development based on the works from award-winning author Mary Higgins Clark and Emmy(R) nominated writer and executive producer Martha Williamson, respectively. The announcement was made today by Michelle Vicary, EVP, Programming for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel in New York City at the annual Upfront.
"Exceptional programming, including some of the best shows suitable for families, is what you've come to expect from Hallmark Channel -- it's what distinguishes our network in the cable television landscape and it's what our viewers want," said Michelle Vicary.
"With our first ever scripted series, 'Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove', premiering July 20, we are truly committed to build this area of programming as we greenlight our second series 'When Calls the Heart' for a January 2014 premiere and three other pilot-to-series projects in already in development. Hallmark Channel has created a destination for family viewing on Friday nights with six new original movies including the recently aired 'Return to Nim's Island'. Family viewing was once a staple on television and Hallmark Channel is passionate about bringing families back together for a shared entertainment experience. We are equally committed to bringing our viewers the best in holiday programming that they have come to love and expect from Hallmark Channel. The '12 New Movies of Christmas' brought the network the #1 Saturday cable movie for seven consecutive weeks and as our network continues to build and grow on all our successes, we are dedicated more than ever to stay true to our brand and to bring our viewers those emotional stories that are 'The Heart of TV'," concluded Vicary.
Hallmark Channel Original Movies for Q2-Q4 2013 include:
MR. HOCKEY: THE GORDIE HOWE STORY
At age 45, hockey legend Gordie Howe has retired from the game. When given the chance to play alongside his sons, however, Gordie attempts to accomplish the unthinkable and return to professional hockey. As the Howe family prepare themselves for a comeback that some labeled "the biggest publicity stunt in hockey history," they discover lessons about family, pride and believing in their own dreams. Stars: Michael Shanks, Kathleen Robertson, Dylan Playfair and Andrew Herr. Premieres: May 4 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
BEVERLY LEWIS' THE CONFESSION
Based on the novel by New York Times bestselling author Beverly Lewis, "Beverly Lewis' The Confession" portrays a young Amish woman who makes her first journey to the outside world in search for her birth mother, a wealthy estate owner who is dying of cancer. When she finally finds her, she isn't expecting the woman's greedy husband to be scheming to steal her entire estate, and is soon caught up in a tangled web of deception as she desperately tries to get closer to the mother she never knew. Stars: Sherry Stringfield, Katie Leclerc and Adrian Paul. Premieres: May 11 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
A former famed jazz musician gets a job teaching music at a local disadvantaged high school after his divorce. Discovering one young man's musical talent on the trumpet, he is inspired to mentor him and start a band to keep the school open, unexpectedly leading him back to a relationship with his own estranged son. Stars: Eddie Cibrian and Michael Beach. Premieres June 15 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
STAR SPANGLED BANNERS
In their late teens and early 20's, the Banner siblings Mitchell, Desiree and Danny made it big as a rock group, but at the height of their fame, Desiree decided to leave the group and everything fell apart. Now, fifteen years later, their mother has a plan to bring the group back together and heal her family. But will the siblings be able to put aside their differences and reunite or will they remain estranged forever? Stars: Brooke White. Premieres: June 29 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
A 911 operator who is a single mom starts to fall for a fireman after he breaks his leg in an emergency and unusual circumstances bring them together. As he gets to know her and her two young kids, their connection is undeniable, but with the best interests of her family in mind, she has to decide if two really is better than one. Stars: Alison Sweeney, Greg Vaughan and Ed Asner. Premieres: July 27 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
READING WRITING & ROMANCE
A struggling actor takes a job teaching Shakespeare at the local high school to make ends meet. As he starts to fall in love with a fellow teacher and use his theatrical talent to motivate his students to complete a big project, the jealous vice principal cruelly sets out to sabotage his romance and his job, forcing him to face the toughest decision of his life. Stars: Eric Mabius, Virginia Williams, Stefanie Powers, Meredith Baxter and Martin Mull. Premieres: August 10 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
WHEN CALLS THE HEART
Based on Janette Oke's bestselling Canadian West series of books, "When Calls the Heart" is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom post in a prairie town in the Western Frontier. She is determined to prove to her family she is brave enough to live on her own, but struggles with her own fears and doubts. But when she discovers her late Aunt's secret diary, Elizabeth learns she was a pioneer woman herself, a teacher in the frontier who struggled with prairie life and fell in love with a Royal Canadian Mountie. Inspired by her aunt's hopeful words and unfaltering determination, Elizabeth decides to embark on her own adventure, using the diary as her guide and family friend Edward, another Mountie, as her support. "When Calls The Heart" will feature a two-hour sneak peek for the newest primetime series to be greenlit by Hallmark Channel which will premiere January 2014. Stars: Maggie Grace, Jean Smart, Lori Loughlin, Poppy Drayton and Stephen Amell. Premieres: October 5 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C. (See separate release)
THE GOOD WITCH'S DESTINY
Life is good for Good Witch Cassie Nightingale and as her birthday's approaching, all she wants is a family party surrounded by everyone she loves including newlywed's Grandpa George and his new wife Gwen. But life starts getting complicated when Gwen's estranged son arrives in town and begins to make trouble for Cassie. And to make matters worse, Cassie's stepson Brandon, has decided to put his career on hold and follow his girlfriend to college. Meanwhile, stepdaughter Lori, discovers disturbing parallels between Cassie and the original Grey Lady who disappeared at her own birthday party years before. Will Cassie be able to sort everything out in her own magical way or will history repeat itself and cost Cassie everything she has built? Stars: Catherine Bell and Chris Potter. Premieres: October 26 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C.
Walden Family Theater for Q2-Q4 2013 include:
Six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. As the competition heats up, the kids have no idea that their ultimate challenge will be to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches. "Space Warriors" is part of Hallmark Channel's new appointment viewing franchise, "Walmart and P&G present Walden Family Theater," created by Walmart, P&G, award-winning family entertainment producer, Walden Media, and fast-growing independent studio, ARC Entertainment. Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Thomas Horn, Mira Sorvino, Josh Lucas and Danny Glover. Premieres: May 24 @ 8p.m. ET/PT, 7C.
A young 14 year old boy named Pete had the worst Christmas Day ever and wakes up to find he must repeat the day again and again until he gets it right. "Pete's Christmas" is part of Hallmark Channel's new appointment viewing franchise, "Walmart and P&G present Walden Family Theater," created by Walmart, P&G, award-winning family entertainment producer, Walden Media, and fast-growing independent studio, ARC Entertainment. Stars: Bruce Dern, Zachary Gordon, Bailee Madison, Molly Parker and Rick Roberts. Premieres: Holiday 2013.
New Pilot-To-Series Projects In Development:
MARY HIGGINS CLARK'S MY GAL SUNDAY
Based on the book of short stories by Mary Higgins Clark, "My Gal Sunday" follows the husband and wife crime solving duo of Sunday and Henry Parker. Parker, an ex-Vice President of the United States and Sunday, a legal aid lawyer are celebrating their first wedding anniversary when Parker assists Sunday in snaring a murderer and he takes a bullet in the arm in the process. As they later head off on a romantic weekend getaway, they are kidnapped and taken to a remote, abandoned farmhouse where the kidnapper demands the release of a dangerous, notorious former hit man. Both Parker and Sunday assume the ex-Vice President must be the target but as time ticks down and Parker becomes desperately ill from his untended wound, Sunday musters all her brilliant skills and bravado to confront and expose the kidnapper - realizing that she is his true target of vengeance. Mary Higgins Clark's crime solving duo, is one of three new pilot-to-series projects currently in development. (See separate release)
Created by bestselling author Martha Williamson, "Dead Letters," follows a quirky quartet of civil servants in the Dead Letter Office of the US Postal System who transform themselves into an elite team of lost-mail detectives. Their determination to deliver the undeliverable takes them out of the post office into an unpredictable world where letters and packages from the past save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but always miraculously on time. The intrepid bunch is led by the charming and handsome (but idiosyncratic) Oliver who still considers the stamped and mailed letter to be the gold standard of human communication. His hapless team of lost letter experts, free-spirited Rita and oddly-intuitive Norman, are thrown for a loop when a beautiful, no-nonsense technophile named Shane is mistakenly transferred to their inner sanctum. Shane inspires the lovable crew to step up in a risky and unorthodox way, beginning with a chance to clear the name of a wrongfully accused man and reconnect him with the love of his life. "Dead Letters" is one of two new pilot-to-series projects currently in development for Hallmark Channel. Premieres: October 19 @ 9p.m. ET/PT, 8C. (See separate release)
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 87 million subscribers. Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, Frasier, and Happy Days. The channel is also home to a range of lifestyle programming, anchored by Home & Family, a daily two-hour live show shot in a fully functional house located on the Universal Studios lot, and Marie, a one-hour talk show hosted by iconic entertainer, Marie Osmond. Hallmark Channel's sibling network, Hallmark Movie Channel, also available in HD and SD, focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of original films, classic theatrical releases, and presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library.