It's not exactly on the level of cable's siphoning of big-ticket sports, but premieres of Hallmark Hall of Fame specials are moving from broadcast to cable. The series of family-friendly films will leave ABC and debut on Hallmark Channel in 2014-15.
The series has been a broadcast TV staple for more than 60 years, starting with Amahl and the Night Visitors in 1951, and for kids proved something of a gilt-edged guarantee of being able to stay up late on a schoolnight.
The Hallmark Hall of Fame movies have aired on ABC for the past three years, but will now debut on Hallmark Channel along with multiple encores. The first movie in the new arrangement will be One Christmas Eve, starring Anne Heche. Hallmark Channel will air as many as four original Hallmark Hall Of Fame movies as year, and the network will have access to past movies from the HHOF library, Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Hallmark told Multichannel News.
“Over the past three years the Hallmark Hall of Fame has had higher total viewership via ABC and Hallmark Channel than in any three-year period in the past decade,” said Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions in a statement. “We’ve enjoyed the success and our working relationships with both ABC and Hallmark Channel."
Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks, added that, “Hallmark Hall of Fame is the longest running and most beloved drama franchise in television history. Adding these premieres to the network’s lineup brings great value to our viewers and further reinforces Crown Media’s position as the leader in high-quality original family entertainment.”