Hallmark Channel revamps daytime programming block
The Hallmark Channel is setting a new table for daytime with two original programs set to launch this fall: a talk show featuring Marie Osmond and a lifestyle show called "Home & Family," which will be shot in Los Angeles on the Universal Studios lot not far from Wisteria Lane of "Desperate Housewives" fame.
The Studio City cable network is regrouping after its 2-year-old partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia produced more lemons than lemonade.
In the coming months, the Hallmark Channel plans to begin phasing out Stewart's programming.
The lifestyle maven's signature how-to show, shot before a studio audience in New York, will end production in late April. Hallmark Channel will continue with reruns of "The Martha Stewart Show" until September. Stewart's other shows, including "Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn," are expected to continue on Hallmark -- at least through the end of the year, Hallmark executives said.
"It's time for us to provide our own take on lifestyle programming," said Bill Abbott, chief executive of Crown Media Holdings, parent company of the Hallmark Channel and its sister Hallmark Movie Channel.
After failing to squeeze money from Stewart's programs, Crown Media intends to own the shows that it runs on its two channels.
The Hallmark Channel's daytime strategy switch comes as the company embraces, once again, its trademark brand of wholesome family fare. The Hallmark channels have ordered 34 original movies this year, representing a 48% increase over their 2009 slates.
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.
-- Meg James
Photo: Marie Osmond in 2001. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times