New York - Hallmark Channel is developing two original scripted primetime series, a first for the independently owned cable network, it announced at its upfront event for press here Wednesday afternoon.
The two series, scheduled for a 2013 premiere, are based on concepts from authors Debbie Macomber and Janette Oke, both of whom have had their work previously developed for movies on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel.
Macomber's Cedar Cove centers around the stories of a small town, while Oke's When Calls the Heart is a period drama about a wealthy young woman from the East Coast who becomes a teacher in a frontier town. Both series have movies in production to air as back-door pilots in the 2012-13 season,with the series to debut later in 2013.
Hallmark also confirmed it has signed a deal with Marie Osmond to host a new one-hour daytime talk show Marie! to air weekday afternoons staring in the fourth quarter. The program replaces The Martha Stewart Show on the channel, which will end original episodes in April and continue in repeats throughout the summer. The network's agreement with its other Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia programs runs through 2013.
The network will launch the new daytime series Home & Family in the fourth quarter, a hosted series originating from a Midwestern-style, 2800 square foot house on the Universal Studios lot. The two-hour series from creator Woody Fraser, whose hosts are to be announced,will feature segments on design, home improvement, automotive, gardening and cooking, among others.
Also announced Wednesday, Hallmark has acquired Warner Bros.' The Middle for a March 2014 debut on the network.