Henry Schleiff, President and CEO of Hallmark Channel spoke to a gathering of television critics and laid out the plan for the upcoming season. Hallmark Channel is a leader in programming for the increasing number of baby boomers and also a leader in original movie production.
Hallmark Channel has a new tagline, "Make yourself at home," and a new mascot, a dog named Herschel, who will be appearing on their new commercials. With their signature sunny and warm yellow color and a furry dog, the channel is promoting itself - and is - as a nice alternative to the cable channels that target much younger viewers. Unlike many of the cable channels this year who are focusing on sex and nudity, Hallmark Channel is an alternative for quality programming and a place to turn for good, old-fashioned television for the entire family.
Some of their original movies this year will feature Valerie Bertinelli, Ernest Borgnine, Dick Van Dyke (along with his son and grandson), Dean Cain, and other recognizable TV veterans.
Henry Schleiff: Let me make the first announcement that starting in 2008, Hallmark will be looking to produce more than 30 original films. That will make Hallmark Channel the largest single producer of quality movies. By that, I define those movies with budgets, production budgets of well over $2 million. So that will make us the largest producer out of any other cable network in the industry.
I'm also pleased to announce that this month Hallmark Channel crossed the 83 million subscribers mark, the addition the 8 million new subs just this year makes Hallmark Channel the fastest-growing network in terms of subscribers and literally fully distributed. Finally, Hallmark, a lonely, little, tiny independent network with very little marketing or we have no cross-channel promotion, ranked almost unbelievably fourth in prime-time in the Nielsen ratings last week. We are 9th year-to-date in prime-time out of all 69 cable networks measured by Nielsen. In a world where a little bit more than 80 percent of new scripted series don't even make it to the second season and where we've seen a fair share of reality shows that some of us would on occasion question, Hallmark Channel consistent, consistent top-10 rankings and ratings indicate quite simply the strong appeal of quality family-friendly programming especially to middle-age Baby Boomers across Middle America. Our recognizable and reliable brand defined by our programming, whether it is our original movies or our off-network classic series, have enabled Hallmark Channel in just literally five-and-a-half years to do three things: We have added more households, more viewers both in prime-time and total day and more women 25-54 than any other network.