Upfronts 2014: Crown To Rebrand Hallmark Movie Channel

Hallmark Movie Channel will get a facelift later this year as parent Crown Media Family Networks rebrands the 24-hour movie channel Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the company announced Thursday.

The network will receive a new tagline and logo as Hallmark looks to brand the service as a destination for fans of mystery movies. As part of the rebrand, the network will introduce its first ever Mystery “Wheel” in 2015, which will feature a rotation of three distinct movie franchises consisting of three to four movies following the same primary characters over several months, said network officials.

The first Mystery Wheel will launch in early 2015 with Garage Sale Mystery, based on a 2013 original Hallmark Channel movie of the same name starring Lori Loughlin (When Calls the Heart). The second movie franchise in the wheel, The Gourmet Detective—based on the series of books by Peter King—will star Dylan Neal (Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove).

Hallmark Movie Channel averaged 322,000 primetime viewers in February, up 44% from the same period last year, according to Nielsen.

Crown Media will unveil Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ new look, logo and tagline in October, said company officials.  

“Movies and the lighter side of the mystery genre exemplify what Hallmark Movie Channel has always represented—great, compelling stories that keep viewers engaged and wanting more,” said Crown Media Family Networks president and CEO, Bill Abbott in a statement. “Coming at a time when the network features more fresh, original content than ever before, the re-imagination of the brand as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is designed to more fully realize the network’s essence, while elevating its position as one of the most unique destinations on cable for viewers and advertisers, alike.” 

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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.