Hallmark Channel Parent Starts Production Unit

Crown Media Productions to Make Up to Six Films in 2015

Hallmark Channel parent Crown Media Family Networks has launched an in-house production unit – Crown Media Productions – aimed at cranking out original content for its cable networks.

Crown Media Productions will be led by Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries executive vice president, programming Michelle Vicary and will produce up to six films in 2015, all of which will be released under the banner of a Hallmark Channel Original or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Original. The new production shingle plans to double its output in 2016 and beyond. The first original films to come from Crown Media Productions will begin airing later this year.

This year, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have already aired 11 telefilms between them. Officials peg the full-year's schedule at 58 combined original movies, the most of any cable programmer.

''Launching Crown Media Productions represents the next stage of the company’s evolution,'' Vicary said in a statement. “A production arm creates the infrastructure that makes it possible for us to keep up with an ever-growing demand for more and more Original Hallmark-branded programming across a variety of platforms, and it benefits Crown Media with more direct input into the creative process and financing, rights retention, and growing one of the best family film libraries in entertainment.”

Crown Media Family Networks will provide financing for the new entity and retain all distribution rights worldwide. Crown Media Productions will have in-house creative production executives and strategic publicity and marketing capabilities while relying on the company’s overall infrastructure to power the new division. The new entity will be presented to Hollywood creative agencies within the coming weeks.