Launched in April 2008, the Hallmark Movie Channel (HMC) exclusively broadcasts family movies and Hallmark productions, including telefilms, miniseries, and presentations from the prestigious Hallmark Hall of Fame series.
Expanding from Beta
On April 2, 2008, Hallmark's movie channel made its official simulcast debut in HD.
This date also marked the channel's launch from beta.
Today, HMC is available in over 16 million homes in the United States. By the first quarter of 2010, it plans to be Nielson-rated and expand to 30 million subscribers.
A 24-hour digital-cable channel, the Hallmark Movie Channel aims to provide all-day programming for families to watch together.
Most of its titles are taken from the Hallmark library, many of which premiered on its sister channel (The Hallmark Channel). In addition, HMC has acquired broadcast rights for family movies like The Princess Diaries, 101 Dalmations, The Love Bug, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Three Musketeers.
The final piece however is the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame. Airing on Sundays at 8 p.m., the channel has made it easier for fans to catch past favorites like Sarah, Plain and Tall, What the Deaf Man Heard, and To Dance With the White Dog.
Hallmark Hall of Fame
A major reason why the Hallmark Movie Channel is even possible is the Hallmark Hall of Fame. First premiered in 1951, the series has survived three network changes, as well as increased competition. Despite everything though, the series has remained committed to creating the same kind of quality, family-friendly productions it has made for over 50 years. Now, it has an entire channel devoted to its storied catalog.
By the Numbers
- 1951: The debut year of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
- 236: The number of episodes as of June 2009.
- 78: The number of Emmy Awards won by the series.
- 24: The number of Christopher Awards won by the series.
- 11: The number of Peabody Awards won by the series.
- 10: The number of awards won by the 1986 HHoF production Promise, including 5 Emmys.
- 9: The number of Golden Globes won by the series.
- 4: The number of Humanitas Prizes won by the series.
More About HHoF Productions
As of Summer 2012, there have been 62 seasons of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, with 236 episodes (and counting). The following titles, along with Promise, are among the most recognizable.
Amahl & The Night Visitors
The first broadcast of the Hallmark Hall of Fame was Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl & The Night Visitors, an opera in one act performed in New York City's Rockefeller Center and broadcast live on Christmas Eve. It was the first opera commissioned for television.
Sarah, Plain and Tall
The first of three films based on Patricia MacLachlan's series about the Witting family. Aired in 1991, the film starred Glenn Close and Christopher Walken, who both went on to star in the sequels: Skylark and Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End. It was nominated for nine Emmys and two Golden Globes.
What the Deaf Man Heard
Aired in 1997, What the Deaf Man Heard was the first episode of season 47. Starring Matthew Modine and James Earl Jones, it became the series' most-watched broadcast with 22.5 million viewers. It received three Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe nod.
Hallmark Movie Channel: Future Plans
When the channel launched in 2008, the plan was to build programming around one special event each quarter. The first such event was the four-hour miniseries Son of the Dragon.
This format continues to this day, with more original movies scheduled to appear each season. In 2008, a total of 30 original movies were slated to debut and in 2009, the number has risen to 35 -- a 12.5 percent increase in only its second year.
Finally, film students will also be part of HMC's growth. In March 2009, a partnership between Hallmark and the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & TV (NYU) was announced. The plans will have the movie channel debut select student films in between its regular programming. The series, known as Film Positive, will premiere in October 2009..