Hallmark Cards, which has owned, produced, and managed the long-running Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise since the early 1950s, today announced that Crown Media Holdings Inc.’s Hallmark Channel will take over production and management of the franchise. Crown Media Holdings operates and distributes Hallmark Channel to more than 90 million subscribers in the U.S.
Hallmark Cards will continue to sponsor the series and will remain involved in the creative process, including script vetting, to make sure it continues the franchise’s reputation for movies “that entertain, enlighten and inspire,” the company said today.
In fall 2014, Hallmark Cards (Crown Media’s parent company) announced Hallmark Channel would become the exclusive home of new Hallmark Hall of Fame movie premieres, meaning all new movies in the franchise would make their world debut on Hallmark Channel. Previously, Hallmark Cards had a deal with broadcast networks, most recently ABC, whereby new movies would make their world premiere on the network, with Hallmark Channel able to encore a week later. Hallmark Cards continued to manage and produce the franchise and the Hall of Fame was a division of Hallmark Cards. Today’s announcement puts Crown Media’s production arm, Crown Media Productions, into oversight of the division; it will now own HHOF and oversee the franchise entirely.
Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks noted that, for the past year, Hallmark Channel has premiered Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, after many years in which the franchise debuted on broadcast TV. Since its debut on Christmas Eve 1951, the Hallmark Hall of Fame has been one of television’s longest-running drama series. With more than 255 broadcasts to date, the series has earned 81 Emmys and nine Golden Globes.