Hallmark Channels, the leading provider of original television movies and the number-one destination for family friendly programming, today announced a robust slate of upcoming Hallmark Channel Original Movies. The movie line-up, which will include 24 original movies in 2011, alone, will continue the network’s legacy as the premiere destination for original, family friendly television movies. Hallmark Channel will continue to premiere its original movies on Saturday nights at 9 p.m., ET/PT.
“Original movies will continue to be the centerpiece of our prime time schedule as we broaden our entire programming mix and as we transition our daytime to home and lifestyle-oriented programming,” said Barbara Fisher, Senior Vice President, Programming, Hallmark Channel. “We’re especially excited to also be developing original movies now that will premiere on our burgeoning Hallmark Movie Channel, beginning next month with ‘The Wild Girl,’ starring Brian Austin Green, and with more movies planned later this year and next.”
Movies are a major component of Hallmark Channel’s programming strategy which, in addition to including a broader mix of original programming and popular acquired entertainment, will also feature a new daytime lineup that focuses on home and lifestyle programming, showcasing popular programming from the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia library. The new daytime schedule of acquired programming begins March 29, in advance of the previously announced September 2010 premiere of original episodes of the landmark series “The Martha Stewart Show” in its new home exclusively on Hallmark Channel. Additional original programming from Omnimedia will also join the schedule in September. Details will be announced.
Hallmark Channel is known for its success in programming a uniquely appealing mix of original movies. It ended 2009 with strong ratings and record-high performances, dominating the holiday season among cable networks and finishing the year in the top ten in Prime Time households ratings.
The following is a sampling of upcoming Hallmark Channel Original Movies:
THE WILD GIRL stars Brian Austin Green (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) and Oscar(R)-nominated actor Graham Greene (“Dances With Wolves”) in a story about an unlikely team that embarks on a rescue mission in the Sierra Madre Badlands, but are put into danger when they stumble upon an orphaned Apache girl abandoned in the wilderness.
The story is based on the 2005 novel, The Wild Girl: The Notebooks of Ned Giles, 1932, written by Jim Fergus. “The Wild Girl” premieres Saturday, April 24 (9 p.m., ET) on Hallmark Movie Channel.
CLASS stars Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (“Prison Break”), Justin Bruening (“Desperate Housewives”) Academy Award-nominee Eric Roberts (“Heroes”) and Constance Marie (“George Lopez”) in a drama about a privileged law student, Whitt Sheffield (Bruening), who gets a class assignment to help a disadvantaged woman (O’Keefe) find a job and learns that some of the greatest lessons aren’t taught in school. Roberts (“Heroes”) plays Whitt’s successful father, and Constance Marie (“George Lopez”), his progressive professor in a story about what happens when the heart ignores the social divide. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
THE WISH LIST stars Jennifer Esposito (“Samantha Who”) and David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls”) in a love story that centers on an obsessive young woman (Esposito) who after too many failed relationships makes a wish list of all the criteria her future husband must have. Then, after finding the perfect man who meets all of her qualifications, she falls in love with another guy (Sutcliffe) who meets none of them and realizes that life and love just don’t always work out according to a master plan. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
FAIRFIELD ROAD stars Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”) in a drama about a young politician who on his way up the career ladder loses everything in a single day of bad luck. He wanders into a seaside town in the midst of a heated election, and as things transpire, he finds he needs this community as much as they need him. Gerald W. Abrams and Susan Murdoch are the executive producers for Cypress Point Productions and QVF Productions.
GROWING THE BIG ONE stars Shannen Doherty (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Charmed”) and tells the story of a young woman who inherits her family farm which is deeply in debt and decides to enter a pumpkin-growing contest in hopes of saving it with the winnings. In the process, she falls in love not only with her new partner in the pumpkin contest (Kavan Smith,”Stargate: Atlantis”) but with the simple life of her grandfather’s small town. Howard Meltzer, Jane Goldenring and Ted Bauman are executive producers for GBO Films Inc.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS stars Golden Globe-nominated Jennifer Beals (“The L Word”) and Rick Roberts (“The Note”) as parents of a family that’s too busy to get ready for the holidays until Santa Claus mistakenly leaves the North Pole a day early and crash lands on their roof – and the two overworked parents find themselves as Santa’s newest — and most ill-equipped – elves. Michael Prupas, Rob Lee, James Orr, Jim Cruickshank and Joel S. Rice are the executive producers for Muse Entertainment Productions.
THE GOOD WITCH’S GIFT stars Catherine Bell (“Army Wives”) and Chris Potter (“The Pacifier”) who reprise their roles from “The Good Witch,” in the second sequel to the highly rated movie from 2007. In the new movie, Cassie Nightingale (Bell) finds out it is going to take more than just a little magic to get this good witch down the aisle. Jake Russell (Potter) is looking for the perfect Christmas gift for his fiance, Cassie Nightingale (Bell), and decides, with just six days left, to give her the perfect gift — a wedding on Christmas Eve – but neither are prepared for all the obstacles that get in the way. Frank Siracusa is the executive producer for Whizbang Films Production.
BACKYARD WEDDING stars Alicia Witt (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), Teddy Sears (“Raising the Bar”), Frances Fisher (“Titanic”), Markie Post (“Night Court”) and Ryan Bittle (“Dawson’s Creek”) in a story about a bride who finds out that getting to the altar is a long journeyeven when it’s in her own backyard. Kim Tyler (Witt) grew up loving her next-door neighbor, Evan Slauson (Sears). She’s all set to have the wedding of her dreams to stable Jeffrey (Bittle) in her parents’ (Fisher and Harry Murphy, “Charlie Wilson’s War”) backyard, but her ex-husband, and first love — whose parents happen to live next door — keeps popping up causing her to seriously question her big plans. Post plays her beloved Aunt Addie. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
AFTER THE FALL stars Andrea Bowen (“Desperate Housewives”) and Greg Evigan (“My Two Dads”) in an inspirational drama about a serious accident that leaves a champion horseback rider temporarily paralyzed. The movie tells the story of the young rider’s indomitable spirit as she fights to walk again, and the response she gets from her family and friends as she makes her incredible journey. Gail O’Grady (“Boston Legal,” “NYPD Blue”) stars as Dr. Miles. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
The Shunning – On the eve of Katie’s Amish wedding to widower Bishop John, startling news comes from her anguished parents, and nothing prepares Katie for the devastation their confession brings. Feeling betrayed, Katie watches as the only life she has ever known begins to unravel, leaving in its wake a furrow of pain and a future of hope. Based on the best-selling book by Beverly Lewis. Michael Landon, Jr. and Brian Byrd are the executive producers for Lightworks Pictures.
LOVE BEGINS is the prequel to “Love Comes Softly,” the first in a series of highly-rated “Loves” movies from Hallmark Channel. It is the story of Clark Davis falling in love with his first wife, Ellen. Clark and his best friend are passing through Trinity on their way to collect their fortune of gold in the West. Working on a run-down farm, Clark meets the sassy Ellen and her sister. Their father has recently passed away and the farm is too much for the two of them. Clark slowly begins to fall in love with Ellen. He eventually gives up his dream of going to California and settles down with Ellen on the farm. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
ROCK THE HOUSE is about Dave Peterson (Jack Coleman, “Heroes”), a successful and handsome 42-year-old corporate attorney who loses sight of what’s important in life. With the help of his friends from his old high school band, his teenage daughter and his love for music, Dave finds his path “out of the woods.” He realizes that there’s more to life than work alone; family and friends are also a necessary part of being happy. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
FAREWELL MR. KRINGLE is a story about a cynical magazine journalist who is assigned a story on a man who is known as Santa Claus, a.k.a., Kris Kringle, for the past 50 years. This man who lost his wife in an automobile accident on the week of Christmas honors his wife by being Santa Claus all year long. He brings so much joy and happiness to the town that they changed the name from Summerland to Mistletoe and renamed all the local shops and streets. Through his benevolence and altruism he brings Christmas magic to everyone. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
LOVE’S RESOUNDING COURAGE – In the second prequel to “Love Comes Softly,” the highly rated series of “Loves” movies from Hallmark Channel,” when Clark’s beloved wife, Ellen, dies from scarlet fever, he and his daughter, Missy, must find a way to survive this hardship while also saving the barren land from drought. With love and support from family and friends, Clark and Missy endure. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
MYSTERY GIRLBen McCauley e-mails Chloe, the beautiful, “mystery girl” who keeps crossing his path, but the message goes to single mother Charley Anderson by mistake. Ben begins dating Chloe, but she never quite lives up to the e-mail relationship and anonymous friendship he develops with Chloe’s co-worker, Charley. Once Ben discovers his mishap, the identity of his true mystery girl is revealed. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
CALL ME MRS. MIRACLE – Doris Roberts returns to star in the sequel to the highly-rated “Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle” which premiered on Hallmark Channel in December of 2009. In the new movie, it’s Christmas in New York City and Mrs. Merkle (Roberts) is a sassy saleswoman in a family-owned department store that could use a little holiday magic. She gets to work quickly selling the season’s expected hot toy, the SuperRobot, for her new boss, Jake, who is micromanaged by his dad, JR. But before long, she has things under control at the store but is also helping along a romance with Jake and Holly, a beautiful assistant to a fashion designer who’s the legal guardian to her nephew, Gabe. Mrs. Miracle still has a lot work ahead of her, but she’s planning on a wonderful Christmas for all. Dan Wigutow, Michael M. Scott and Debbie Macomber are the executive producers. It is a Dan Wigutow Productions Film in association with KZ Productions Inc.
FINDING A FAMILY is based on the true story of foster child, Alex Chivescu, who was born to Hungarian parents and whose father left the United States when he was young. His mother stayed in the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D., but was seriously injured in a car accident forcing Alex to petition the court to terminate her parental rights sending Alex into foster care. Tom Patricia and Martin Martin are the executive producers.
AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS is the sequel to the highly-rated “An Old- Fashioned Thanksgiving” starring Jacqueline Bisset. It’s December 1870, and we pick up on the adventures of Mathilda “Tilly” Bassett and her rich grandmother Isabella, having toured some of Europe’s cultural centers and are now arriving in Dublin for a month-long stay. Tilly’s inner struggle is between being a society woman in-the-making and the Yankee farm girl that are her roots. Isabella’s mission is to expose Tilly to the world of letters; that’s why she’s bringing her to Dublin, to meet Ireland’s poet laureate, the Earl of Shannon. But there’s a saying throughout Ireland: “If you want to make God laugh, try making plans.” Joel Rice and Michael Prupas are the executive producers for Must Entertainment and Automatic Pictures production in association with WildRice Productions.
ANNIE KRINGLE’S YEAR OFF is the story of Santa’s Daughter, Annie Kringle, age 29, who, having spent her entire life in Santa’s Village, gets a year’s sabbatical to experience the outside world, and then decide if she would like to take over the family business upon her father’s (the current Santa’s) retirement. Annie is in charge of Toy Manufacturing. She oversees the production and distribution of all toys and her division is a well-oiled machine. She is stellar at her job and while her parents don’t want to lose her, they know that they must offer her this opportunity. Because of her father’s tales, she chooses Los Angeles for her Christmas sabbatical, and soon the adventure begins. Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.
MULLIGAN, written by actor Peter Facinelli (“Nurse Jackie”), is the story of Eddie James, an actor stuck in a big Rabbit’s suit on a popular children’s show. What he really wants is to be a respected actor. Annie Baker is a widow and mother to 6-year-old, Taylor, a precocious child with a big heart. She’s a huge fan of Mulligan the Rabbit and she’s slowly losing her eyesight. Annie’s running late to the diner where she works. Eddie’s on his way to landing a big role in a big budget feature when. the two cars collide. Thankfully, no one’s hurt, but the accident will set them both on a new path. Neither is looking for love, but soon, Eddie’s heart melts when he sees first-hand how much Taylor loves Mulligan. Eddie sets out to help pay for an experimental surgery for Taylor when he lands a big role. At a fork in the road, which will he choose? Love or the job he’s always dreamed of? Larry Levinson is the executive producer for Larry Levinson Productions.