Sillars departs Hallmark in light of Stewart's poor performance

Laura Sillars, programming exec at the Hallmark Channel, got the axe after the channel’s new Martha Stewart-focused daytime lineup has failed to draw viewers, the LA Times’ Company Town blog reported on Friday.

Sillars had been hired four months ago to shepherd the network’s new lifestyle daytime line-up as well as be the liaison between Hallmark and Stewart. Sillars, a former HGTV exec, also was enduring a tough commute between New Orleans and New York.

In a rare on-the-record statement regarding such situations, Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott chose to say: We “mutually decided to go in different ways. It was not a good fit for either of us.”

While Stewart’s poor performance on Hallmark thus far apparently factored into her and Hallmark’s decision for her to depart, “Sillars was not part of the team at Hallmark that decided in January to introduce Stewart to the channel and attempt a wholesale makeover of its programming,” reports the LA Times.

Prior to Sillars’ arrival, Hallmark had relied on such daytime fare as repeats of Little House on the Prairie and Golden Girls, shows that had a small but dedicated audience. Hallmark’s new lifestyle line-up with Stewart at its center is attracting about half that audience.

“I wish the Hallmark Channels much success with their Martha Stewart programming, and their future programming,” Sillars told the Times on Friday night.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.