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Hallmark Drama Network to Launch October 1

Hallmark Drama, a cable network that will evoke the spirit of Hallmark Hall of Fame, will launch Oct. 1, its parent company announced Thursday.

Hallmark Drama will have a wholly distinct lineup from Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries — Crown Media Family Networks’ existing networks — according to Bill Abbott, Crown Media’s president and CEO.

The new network will combine movies and series from Crown Media’s library of original dramatic content and original programming, Abbott said.

“Over the past several years, we have significantly expanded the original content lineups for both our networks — and it seems the more new programming we offer, the more viewers flock to our networks,” said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president, programming & network publicity, Crown Media Family Networks.

“While Hallmark Channel focuses on romantic, comedic fare and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is rooted in the lighter side of the suspense genre, Hallmark Drama presents us an opportunity to further tap the Hallmark brand and give our audience even more of the engaging, family-friendly storytelling they have grown to expect and love.”

In other announcements:

— Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will air 33 new Christmas movies in 2017, including consecutive nights of new movies nightly from Nov. 22-25. Round-the-clock holiday programming will air from Oct. 27 to Jan. 1.

Stars of the films include Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, Catherine Bell, Alison Sweeney, Jack Wagner and Wendie Malick.

— An adaptation of the novel by “Today” weather and feature anchor Al Roker, “The Midnight Show Murders: A Billy Blessing Novel” starring Holly Robinson Peete will air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in 2018.

“The Midnight Show Murders” mystery revolves around a fictional television morning show of which Blessing (Robinson Peete) is the food anchor and owner of a successful bistro who becomes the main suspect in the murder of a network executive.

— Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will air “The Adjuster,” loosely based on the real-life experiences and professional work of strategist and crisis communications specialist Judy Smith, the inspiration for the ABC drama “Scandal.” Smith has a development deal with Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

— Hallmark Channel announced it has ordered a fourth season of its most popular drama series, “The Good Witch,” which stars “JAG” alumna Catherine Bell, and a sixth season of the morning lifestyle series, “Home & Family.”

— The fifth season of the Hallmark Channel drama series, “When Calls the Heart” will begin with a two-hour sneak peek during the network’s “Countdown to Christmas.” Fifth-season episodes will begin airing on a weekly basis in February.

The announcements came in connection with the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, which is being held in Beverly Hills.

Photo from Runaway Island (2016)
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