After a 63-year run on NBC, CBS and ABC, Hallmark Hall of Fame, TV’s longest-running primetime franchise is moving to cable and will air on sibling Hallmark Channel. For the past three years, the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, which air three times a year in conjunction with the biggest card-buying holidays, premiered on ABC, with an encore on Hallmark Channel the following week. Hallmark Channel, whose majority owner Hallmark Cards sponsors Hallmark Hall of Fame, will now air both the premiere and multiple repeats of each production. The first movie under the new arrangement is One Christmas Eve starring Anne Heche as a recently-divorced mom who wants her two kids’ first Christmas “without dad” to be perfect.
“This move is an important next step for us,” said Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions. “Hallmark Channel’s strong brand, distinctive positioning, and highly-effective audience delivery present exciting opportunities for us. Hallmark Channel is also where more and more viewers expect to find our programs.”
Launched in the golden age of TV movies in 1951, Hallmark Hall of Fame for decades was the premiere original movie franchise. But as the interest in longform productions on the broadcast networks declined, its ratings started slipping, hitting all-time lows in the past couple of years on ABC. Still, Moore claims that, when combining the ABC and Hallmark Channel numbers, HHF’s viewership for the past three years has been “higher that any three-year period in the past decade.”