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Hallmark Builds a Mystery

The mystery about the new look for the rebranded Hallmark Movie Channel has been solved.

In an exclusive reveal here, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, which is set to officially convert from Hallmark Movie Channel on Oct. 1, will maintain brand continuity by showcasing elements of the crown logo and the scripted writing found in its current iteration, as well as that of progenitor Hallmark Channel.

Executives had said at an upfront press presentation on March 13 that a branding change was coming.

Senior vice president of marketing Susanne McAvoy said the look was guided by the affinity viewers have for the family-friendly values tied to the two Hallmark networks and Hallmark Cards, parent of Crown Media Networks, which operates the two channels. “Viewers associate strong attributes with the brands,” she said, and the new logo integrates the old with the network’s new thematic direction.

The revamped logo sports its ampersand circumscribed within a magnifying glass, a visual meant to emphasize a programming mix aimed at unraveling who-done-its. Los Angeles-based branding agency Houndstooth worked with McAvoy and Hallmark on the redesign.

McAvoy and her group had engaged in the new branding for Hallmark Channel two years ago, which ultimately resulted in the current “Heart of TV” tagline. The Hallmark Movies & Mysteries logo will stand on its own at the outset.

Promos will begin running on-air and on the website in September to inform viewers who may not be aware that the network transformation is coming.

McAvoy said Hallmark Cards chairman Don Hall and the company’s board signed off on the new logo on June 25. Focus groups last November informed the programmer’s commitment to the genre. The rebranded network will introduce its fi rst mystery “wheel” in 2015, with a rotation of three distinct movie franchises, each consisting of several movies that follow the same primary characters over a few months.

The wheel projects expected to roll into play are: Garage Sale Mystery, based on the 2013 original Hallmark Channel telefi lm, starring Lori Loughlin (When Calls the Heart); The Gourmet Detective, based on Peter King’s books and starring Dylan Neal (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove); Hannah Swensen and the Sugar Cookie Murder (no cast yet); and Aurora Tea Garden with Candace Cameron Bure.

More Hallmark Movies & Mysteries programming details are expected to be disclosed at the Television Critics Association summer tour this week.