Hallmark Channel Taps Wonya Lucas as President and CEO

Wonya Lucas
(Image credit: Crown Media)

Crown Media Family Networks has named former TV One and the Weather Channel executive Wonya Lucas as its president and CEO.

Lucas will be responsible for the strategic direction, management and growth of Crown’s three linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movie & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama, as well as the company’s Hallmark Movies Now subscription streaming service. Lucas will report to Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry.

“Wonya is a brand builder at her core who shares Hallmark’s beliefs and values. She has a deep understanding of the role our brand plays in fulfilling a bigger purpose in people’s lives,” Perry said in a statement. “After a thorough search process, we found a remarkable leader with proven general management skills, as well as a track record of success in driving business results and evolving the positioning and programming of a brand. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Wonya to the Hallmark family.”

RELATED: Hallmark Channel Chief Bill Abbott Out at Crown Media

Lucas’ appointment comes six months after former Hallmark Channel president and CEO Bill Abbott left the company amid controversy over Hallmark Channel’s pulling of an ad for a wedding planning company which showed two women kissing during their wedding ceremony. The network eventually restored the commercial.

Lucas most recently served as president and CEO of Public Broadcasting Atlanta. Prior to that Lucas served as TV One CEO, and has also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel as well as the Weather Channel Networks general manager. She's also spent time at TBS, CNN and in brand management roles at Coke and Clorox.

“Hallmark has been central to my life since I can remember, starting with those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies that were as enriching as they were entertaining,” Lucas said in a statement. “In some ways, my entire career has led me to this incredible opportunity to use the breadth of my experience and skills to evolve an iconic and beloved brand, a culture and a business. I am honored to link arms with the multi-talented leaders and their teams at Crown to build toward an exciting future.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.