Hallmark Channel

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Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel Logo
Launched 1984 (as ACTS)
1988 (as VISN)
1992 (merger of VISN/ACTS)
1993 (as Faith & Values Channel)
1996 (as Odyssey Network)
August 5, 2001 (as Hallmark Channel)
Owned by Crown Media Holdings (Hallmark Cards)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan The Heart of TV
Headquarters Studio City, California, U.S.
Sister channel(s) Hallmark Movie Channel
Website www.hallmarkchannel.com
DirecTV 312 (HD/SD)
Dish Network 185 (HD/SD)
Available on most cable systems Check local listings for channels
Verizon FiOS 240 (SD only)

The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts across the United States. Their programming includes a mix of television movies/miniseries, syndicated series, and lifestyle shows that are aimed at a family audience. It is owned by Crown Media Holdings, which is majority-owned by Hallmark Cards.

As of August 2013, approximately 85,897,000 American households (75.22% of households with television) receive the Hallmark Channel.[1]


The Odyssey Network logo

In the United States, 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.[2] Under the original timeshare agreement, the network was 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 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, and others. Roman Catholic, LDS Church, Jewish and Islamic faiths also provided programming.[3] VISN aired in mornings and evenings. ACTS commenced operations in 1984, owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. It aired programming from evangelical and fundamentalist non-charismatic Christian groups like the SBC, Christian Reformed Church, Association of Regular Baptist Churches, as well as well known evangelists like Jerry Falwell, 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 adding a few secular shows during this time, such as exercise shows, health and cooking shows, and family-friendly dramas and movies. In 1995, cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. bought a 49 percent stake in Faith and Values and took over operational control of the network. It added more secular programming to the network and reduced religious programming to about 10 hours a day. Faith And Values was then renamed "The Odyssey Channel" in 1996, using the domain name Odysseyfamily.com for posting TV listings.

Crown Media Holdings and The Jim Henson Company bought majority stakes in Odyssey in November 1998. The Hallmark/Henson version of Odyssey launched on April 4, 1999, and the airing of 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.

History as Hallmark Channel[edit]

The channel was renamed The Hallmark Channel on August 5, 2001.[4] It completely dropped religious programing, but continued to focus on family and drama shows, drama movies, classic sitcoms, and other general entertainment. The National Interfaith Cable Coalition continued to own about 5% of the channel, and still produces some content for them.[5] The change meant that The Kermit Channel in Asia was also changed to The Hallmark Channel, reducing the former to a three-hour block on Hallmark.[6]

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.

David Evans was CEO of the newly-developing network, until he resigned in May 2006.[7] 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.[8] Prior to this position, Schleiff was Chairman and CEO of Court TV.[9]

In January 2007, Hallmark Channel dropped the Hallmark crown from its channel logo, but still uses it in certain places on-air, Hallmark promos, 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."[4]

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 (2008)" primaries.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

In January 2010, their on-air branding was revamped for HD broadcasting. A predominantly lavender color scheme, 3D renderings of the Hallmark script logo, and relatively simple elements make up the new look, including a new slogan, "Celebrate Life's Moments." The channel also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Hallmark brand in January 2010.

Hallmark Channel HD, a 1080i high definition simulcast of Hallmark Channel, launched on February 1, 2010.[13] DirecTV added the HD channel to their lineup on June 23, 2010.[14]


Hallmark Channel Headquarters, Studio City, CA

Hallmark Channel airs classic TV shows, 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.

Current Hallmark daytime original programming includes Home and Family, hosted by Mark Steines & Christina Ferrare. A new show will premiere September 30th called The Better Show which will be hosted by Audra Lowe & JD Roberto.

In July 2013, Hallmark Channel debuted its new original series Cedar Cove, based on the novels by Debbie Macomber. In January 2014, Hallmark Channel also debuted another original series, When Calls The Heart, based on the novels by Janette Oke.

Original movies[edit]

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, though RHI still produces some movies for Hallmark Channel.[15] The network released 35 original movies in 2009-2010.[4][16] Hallmark Channel released 25 new movies for the 2011 year.

Holiday programming[edit]

From the first weekend in November until January 1, Hallmark Channel presents Countdown to Christmas, a two-month-long marathon of holiday movies, specials, and holiday themed original programming. The marathon is known as Countdown to New Years from December 26 until January 1 and culminates with the Tournament of Roses Parade. In February, love themed movies and specials are shown leading up to Valentine's Day. In May, movies and specials relating to Mother's Day are presented and the same goes for Father's Day in June. In October around Halloween, spooky themed movies and specials are shown which include Hallmark's The Good Witch original movie series.

The Kitten Bowl[edit]

Beth Stern kicked off the Hallmark Channel's first Kitten Bowl on February 2, 2014, opposite Super Bowl XLVIII.

Consumer website[edit]

On November 19, 2007, the network refreshed its consumer website, www.hallmarkchannel.com, offering users microsites dedicated to original programming and marketing initiatives,[4] such as sweepstakes and special 'events' like "Crime Time Sunday".[17] Some of the microsites have games centered around the movie's theme.[18]

They also began to stream their award-winning original series, Adoption,[19] marking the first time the network has scheduled a full-length program online.[4]

On Location[edit]

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 movie's individual microsite.[4] The series had a soft launch in July 2007 with the title "Inside Story" and a different host for Avenging Angel,[20] Charlie & Me,[21] The Good Witch,[22] Daniel's Daughter,[23] and The Note.[24]

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.[25]

Online movie shop[edit]

On January 29, 2009, the company announced the development of an online movie shop featuring DVD movies and movie-related products from its library.[26] 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.[27]


In mid-June 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.[12]

Hallmark Channel around the world[edit]

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.


Hallmark Channel and sister channel Hallmark Movie Channel were removed from the AT&T U-verse lineup on September 1, 2010 due to a carriage dispute.[28]

Blogger Donna Cavanagh has raised a concern with the network regarding its allowable on-air language policies, describing them as "censorship at its worst". Words such as "ass", "hooker", and possibly "butt" are dubbed out. In response to Cavanagh's inquiry, a representative of the network said:[29]

Crown Media Networks is committed to family friendly programming. Our Standards & Practices ("S&P" — the things that are or are not acceptable for a particular network) are very conservative. There are words and phrases commonly used on other cable channels and broadcast networks that Hallmark Channel's S&P guidelines deem unacceptable.

Cavanagh accused the network of hypocrisy in blocking such material as being objectionable according to the network's standards while continuing to broadcast sitcoms such as Frasier and The Golden Girls, which often feature themes of sexuality and promiscuity.

Network Slogans[edit]

Hallmark Channel, The Heart Of TV (2001–2008)

Hallmart Channel, Make Yourself at Home (2008–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ "VISN, ACTS Sign Agreement To Share Single Cable Signal". Religious Broadcasting (National Religious Broadcasters) 24 (9): 32. October 1992. ISSN 0034-4079. 
  3. ^ Calian, Carnegie Samuel (1995-10-02). "Redeeming the wasteland? Christian TV increasingly uses entertainment to spread its message.". Christianity Today 39 (11): 92–103. ISSN 0009-5753. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Hallmark Channel Press site: Company Milestones". Hallmarkchannelpress.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  5. ^ Downey, Kevin (2008-02-11). "Spiritual Syndicator's Gamble". Broadcasting & Cable: 20. 
  6. ^ "Muppet Central News - Kermit Channel goes off the air". Muppetcentral.com. 2001-06-04. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  7. ^ "Hallmark Exec folding cards". Encyclopedia.com: Daily Variety. 
  8. ^ Hallmark Channel Press site: Bio Page[dead link]
  9. ^ "Unicef contributor's profile". Unicefusa.org. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  10. ^ Clinton Buys Block on Hallmark Mediaweek 2008-01-31
  11. ^ "Crown Media Holdings President and CEO Henry Schleiff To Leave Hallmark Channel". Hallmark Channel Press Site. 5-6-09. 
  12. ^ a b "Hallmark: Change is in the Cards". Broadcasting Cable.com. 
  13. ^ Hallmark Channel goes HD just in the nick of time Entertainment Weekly December 16, 2009
  14. ^ Upcoming HD channels DirecTV.com
  15. ^ Hallmark Channel Press Release: 7/12/2007[dead link]
  16. ^ "Hallmark Channel Increases Programming to 35 Original Movies for '09-'10 Upfront Season". Futon Critic. 
  17. ^ Crime Time Sunday Microsite[dead link]
  18. ^ Hallmark Channel Press Release 1/28/09[dead link]
  19. ^ Adoption Microsite[dead link]
  20. ^ Avenging Angel Microsite[dead link]
  21. ^ Charlie & Me Microsite[dead link]
  22. ^ The Good Witch Microsite[dead link]
  23. ^ Daniel's Daughter Microsite[dead link]
  24. ^ The Note Microsite[dead link]
  25. ^ Love Takes Wing Microsite[dead link]
  26. ^ Hallmark Channel Online Shop[dead link]
  27. ^ "Hallmark Channel Press Release 1/29/09". Hallmark Channel press site. 
  28. ^ Hallmark Channels Go Dark On AT&T U-verse, Multichannel News, September 1, 2010
  29. ^ Cavanagh, Donna (July 10, 2011). "Bleepin' Censorship on the Bleepin' Hallmark Channel". The Student Operated Press.

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