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Faith & Values Media Gets New Name, CEO

Faith & Values Media is changing its name to Odyssey Networks, as well as hiring a new president and CEO, according to company officials.

“We’ve always loved the name Odyssey Networks,” said Bob Thomson, the company’s chief operating officer.

Odyssey Networks is also embarking on a new strategy of producing faith-based programming, which has been its forté, that is commercially viable.

The National Interfaith Cable Coalition, a consortium of religious groups that had been doing business as Faith & Values Media, for years has been a program supplier for, and investor, in Hallmark Channel.

The network has undergone various name changes under its various owners since its founding in 1988, employing the monikers VISN Satellite Network, VISN/ACTS, Faith and Values Channel, Odyssey Channel and ultimately, Hallmark Channel in 2001.

The network still has many investors, but currently is mainly owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings. Crown was launched by Hallmark Entertainment in 1995, and acquired a stake in then-named Odyssey Channel in 1998.

Thomson has been serving as the NICC’s acting president since president Ed Murray retired in June. The company is in the process of hiring a new president, Thomson said.

Currently the NICC programs a two-hour Sunday block on Hallmark Channel, and last year produced a very successful made-for-TV movie, The Note, for the network.

“That was an important breakthrough for us because it showed we can actually do commercial made-for-TV movies,” Thomson said.

The NICC has expanded its business to supply programming for networks beyond Hallmark Channel.

The company is producing “mission-oriented” programming through several co-ventures with international partners, including the BBC, according to Thomson.

That programming has included Inside the Koran for National Geographic Channel and C.S. Lewis BeyondNarnia, a docu-drama for the BBC.