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The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts across the United States. They specialize in re-broadcasting classic syndicated series and television movies that are appropriate for the whole family. It is owned by Crown Media Holdings, in turn majority-owned by Hallmark Cards.


The Odyssey Network logo

In the United Statesmarker, the network began as two separate religious cable channels, the American Christian Television System (ACTS) and the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network (VISN). These two networks shared time on the same channel beginning in 1992. Under the original timeshare agreement, the network was believed to be called VISN/ACTS. Each station was provided time for its programming blocks, and would use its own logo.

VISN began broadcast in 1988 aired about 16 hours a day and had religious programs from mainline Protestant denominations like the United Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, United Church Of Christ, and others. Roman Catholic, LDS Church (Mormon Church), Jewish and Islamic faiths also provided programming. VISN aired in mornings and evenings. ACTS commenced operations in 1984 and aired programming from evangelical and fundamentalist non- charismatic Christian groups like Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Reformed Church, Association of Regular Baptist Churches, as well as well known evangelists like Jerry Fawell, Charles Stanley, D James Kennedy, among others. Both channels had several hours a week of religious children's programs, some of which overlapped. These shows included Sunshine Factory, Joy Junction, Davey and Goliath, Jot, and others.

In 1993, the network was renamed The Faith and Values Channel. It began to phase out religious programming in 1994, when a few secular shows were added, such as exercise shows, health and cooking shows, and family-friendly dramas and movies. More secular programming was added in 1996. At that time religious programming went down to about 10 hours a day. Faith And Values was then renamed the Odyssey Channel, using the domain name for posting TV listings.

Crown Media Holdings and The Jim Henson Company bought stakes in Odyssey Channel in November 1998. At that point religious programs went down to four hours a day. Some classic sitcoms, children's programming, and more family movies were added. Henson sold its interest in the channel to Crown Media Holdings in 2000. Odyssey then dropped much of the children's programming and cut back the religious shows to a few hours on Sundays.

The channel was officially renamed The Hallmark Channel on August 5, 2001. The channel continued to focus on family and drama shows, drama movies, classic sitcoms, and other general entertainment. A remnant of the VISN network continues to own about 5% of the channel, and still produces some content for them.

Company milestones

David Evans was CEO of the newly-developing network, until he resigned in May 2006. The network was without a formal CEO until October 2006, when Henry Schleiff was appointed as the new CEO, overseeing all of the networks’ divisions. Prior to this position, Schleiff was Chairman and CEO of Court TV.

In January 2007, Hallmark Channel dropped the Hallmark crown from its logo, but still uses it in certain places on-air, and in other countries. On May 27, 2007, Hallmark Channel launched “Watch With Me,” a new national public affairs initiative aimed to promote programming for families to watch together, and "to spend more time together."

In 2008, Hallmark Channel unveiled a new branding campaign with predominantly gold coloring, a stylized logo, and a new slogan: "Make Yourself At Home".

In February 2008, the Hillary Clinton campaign purchased an hour of Hallmark Channel's primetime under a paid programming arrangement on February 4, 2008, the day before the multi-state "Super Tuesday " primaries.

On May 6, 2009, Henry Schlieff stepped down as CEO. William J. Abbott, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales stepped in to the position the same day. Both parties said Schleiff's departure was amicable. Later that month it was announced that Crown Media Holdings had put the channel up for sale, which was burdened with over $1 billion in debt for the network. After over a month with no prospects for buying the network, it was taken off the block; the board blamed the large debt for the lack of interest. CEO William J. Abbott decided that Crown Media Holdings would take the network in a younger, "lighter" direction, while continuing to cater to baby boomers.


Hallmark Channel Headquarters, Studio City, CA
Channel airs syndicated series, original movies, and past segments from their parent company's Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series, which features made-for-television movies and miniseries, most of them from the series' CBS run.


See: List of Programs broadcasting currently

The channel is currently showing these syndicated series:

The channel retains rights to air I Love Lucy and Matlock, but does not air them currently. A variety of other shows, such as JAG, Judging Amy, Perry Mason, and Hogan's Heroes have shown on Hallmark Channel, but the network no longer holds the rights to air them.

Original movies

The network's made-for-TV movies are characterized as family-friendly and inspirational, ranging from holiday-themed films to westerns. In the early stages of the channel's development, the channel had a steady one-movie-a-month, or 12-a-year, production schedule and were mainly produced by RHI Entertainment. However, in 2008 the company had ramped up their production schedule to approximately 30 movies a year and opened up to other production companies. In March 2009 the network unveiled an aggressive programming slate of 35 original movies for the 2009-2010 upfront season, marking the most ambitious line-up in the network’s history.

See: List of Hallmark Channel Original Films

New Morning

Hallmark Channel aired an original weekday morning show entitled "New Morning" in 2002 and added a Sunday morning version, hosted by Naomi Judd, entitled "Naomi's New Morning" in 2005. The show was pulled from the schedule in early 2007.

Hallmark Heroes

On December 11, 2007 Hallmark Channel announced that it would launch “Hallmark Heroes with Regis Philbin,” a mini-series/special that recognizes ordinary Americans who make contributions to their communities and change the lives of others. The two on-air specials were hosted by Regis Philbin, and the first installment aired on Christmas Day 2008. In the second edition, Philbin and Hallmark Channel honored Jane Seymour, who was recognized for her extensive work on behalf of the American Red Cross and their Measles Initiative.

Holiday seasons

Home for the Holidays, Hallmark Channel's annual event highlighting the winter holidays, begins the day after Thanksgiving. During this time the channel airs holiday films, made-for-TV movies, and original Christmas movies, as well as changing the overall look of the channel to fit the holiday season.

Similarly, during February the network features Whole Lotta' Love Month with romantic movies, also changing the look of the channel graphically with a valentine heart theme.

Consumer website

On November 19, 2007 the network refreshed its consumer website,, offering users microsites dedicated to original programming and marketing initiatives, such as sweepstakes and special 'events' like "Crime Time Sunday". Some of the microsites have games centered around the movie's theme.

They also began to stream their award-winning original series, "Adoption", marking the first time the network has scheduled a full-length program online.

On Location

On July 21, 2008 the website launched its original online series called "On Location" that features an on-camera host who introduces interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of Hallmark Channel's original movies. The segments are featured on each movies' individual microsite. The series had a soft launch in July 2007 with the title "Inside Story" and a different host for Avenging Angel, Charlie & Me, The Good Witch, Daniel's Daughter, and The Note.

In 2009, the online show was revamped again, removing the on-camera host altogether. Love Takes Wing is the last title featured in an "On Location" with an on-camera host. All titles following do not have an on-camera host.

Online Shop

On January 29, 2009 the company announced the development of an online movie shop at both and featuring DVD movies and movie-related products from its library. The shop is powered by the Amazon Associates program. Since its soft launch in mid-2008, Hallmark Channel has already generated sales of over 10,000 items. The network earns a commission on each sale.


In mid-June of 2009, the network announced it would sell individual ad breaks featuring a single advertiser. The so-called “Fast Breaks” will come with short bumpers announcing that the show will return in 30 seconds. The cost of such standalone spots is about double that of a regular 30-second commercial on the channel. Hallmark Channel signed insurance company Mutual of Omaha as the first buyer.

Hallmark Channel around the world

The name Hallmark is also used for various cable channels worldwide. Hallmark Channel across the world is owned by NBC Universal and is run by different entities that have access to the Hallmark name and brand. They also have different programming and standards than Hallmark Channel USA.

See also


  1. Hallmark Channel Press site: Company Milestones
  2. Hallmark Channel Press site: Bio Page
  3. Unicef contributor's profile
  4. Clinton Buys Block on Hallmark Mediaweek 2008-01-31
  5. Hallmark Channel Press Release: 7/12/2007
  6. Hallmark Heroes Microsite
  7. Hallmark Channel: About Us/Specials Section, acquired 2/9/2009
  8. Whole Lotta Love Month microsite
  9. Crime Time Sunday Microsite
  10. Hallmark Channel Press Release 1/28/09
  11. Adoption Microsite
  12. Avenging Angel Microsite
  13. Charlie & Me Microsite
  14. The Good Witch Microsite
  15. Daniel's Daughter Microsite
  16. The Note Microsite
  17. Love Takes Wing Microsite
  18. Hallmark Channel Online Shop

External links

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