Hallmark Movie Channel HD Debuts In San Antonio

The coming out party for Hallmark Movie Channel HD came in San Antonio.

The high-definition version of Hallmark Movie Channel debuted yesterday on Time Warner Cable’s San Antonio system on channel 153. 

The network has also gained a berth on Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey. Hallmark Movie Channel HD will bow on the cluster’s systems serving the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island on April 30, as part of an extensive HD expansion. Later in the year, the service will be among those made available to the operator’s digital-cable customers in Manhattan, New Jersey, the Hudson Valley region and Westchester County city, Mount Vernon. 

A network spokeswoman said that Hallmark Movie Channel HD, which offers original telefilms, Hallmark Hall of Fame classics and other theatricals, has secured a corporate deal with the nation’s No. 2 cable operator. In turn, the family-friendly programmer then must work the “hunting license” with the local systems in order to gain the distribution launch.

In February, Time Warner Cable renewed its distribution pact with Hallmark Channel, which the carrier provides to 12 million homes, while also affording the opportunity for carriage of both the standard-definition and HD versions of Hallmark Movie Channel.

Meanwhile, there was a party of a different kind in Peoria, Ill., where Hallmark Movie Channel HD celebrated its launch with a star-studded event, lunch and movie screening of the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, The Magic of Ordinary Days

The event, begging the question “Will it play in Peoria?” was attended by over 250 citizens, as mayor Jim Ardis declared April 2 Hallmark Movie Channel HD day in the city. He also named the network’s president & CEO, Henry Schleiff, actors Ernest Borgnine, David Carradine, John Reardon and Desiree Siahaan, and Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, honorary citizens of Peoria, joking that he would be delighted to offer them each “the unique opportunity to pay taxes.”

In the city now served by Comcast under the 50-50 breakup with Insight Communications, Borgnine reconnected with the family of his former naval commander, Paul Haberkorn, from his days onboard the U.S.S Sylph. Haberkorn's widow, children and grandchildren reside in Peoria.

Officials at the programmer said it continues to have discussions with Comcast about launching Hallmark Movie Channel HD.

Looking ahead, Hallmark Movie Channel HD will hold an event May 7 at the NCTA theater in Washington, D.C., according to a spokeswoman. Other events are being planned, with Schleiff stating at the company's press upfront presentation last week that screenings were considered for other "heart of America cities" like Orlando, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City.