Hallmark Hopes For 'Moonlight' Ratings Magic

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Hallmark Channel will premiere the second of its six original telefilms this holiday season, with the Nov. 29 debut of Moonlight & Mistletoe.

The family friendly service hopes the original movie, starting Tom Arnold and Candace Cameron Bure, can build on the momentum of An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, which averaged 2.8 million homes, a 3.2 household rating and some 3.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data, during its Nov. 22 debut. 

The premiere of that film, starring Jacqueline Biesset, ranked as the network’s fifth-highest-rated original movie and fourth-most-watched among households. Thanksgiving, Hallmark Channel’s top November original telefilm to date, helped push the service to a sixth-place primetime finish in basic cable last month, with a 1.4 household rating and 1.5 million viewers on average.

In 2007, Hallmark premiered four holiday-themed original movies -- A Grandpa for Christmas, All I Want for Christmas, The Note and Love’s Unfolding Dream -- which averaged a 3.0 household rating and 3.6 million total viewers on consecutive Saturday nights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 15. The telefilms helped attract 17.2 million viewers to the network last December, which network officials say ranks as the service’s highest-rated month ever.

In Moonlight & Mistletoe, which begins at 9 p.m., a young woman (Cameron Bure), who left the year-round holiday party of ‘Santaville’ -- where her dad reigns as the resident St. Nick -- for a life in corporate America, returns to her roots to find that her father’s business is in dire straits. What begins as a simple effort to pull her dad out of debt ends up rekindling his daughter’s belief in the magic of Christmas.

Following this film, Hallmark’s Saturday night holiday schedule is as follows: The Christmas Choir, Dec. 6; The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Dec.13; Our First Christmas, Dec. 20; and, A Kiss at Midnight, Dec. 27.

Hallmark is supporting its original holiday movies with an expansive umbrella marketing campaign under the "Home for the Holidays" banner, as well as a local ad sales initiative.

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