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Hallmark Channel (1998)

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The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts across the United States. Their programming includes a mix of television movies/miniseries, syndicated series, and lifestyle shows that are appropriate for the whole family. It is owned by Crown Media Holdings, which in turn is co-owned by Hallmark Cards and Discovery Communications.


In the United States, the network began as two separate religious cable channels, the American Christian Television System and the Vision Interfaith Satellite Network . These two networks shared time on the same channel beginning in 1992. Under the original timeshare agreement, the network was believed to be called VISN/ACTS. Each station was provided time for its programming blocks, and would use its own logo.

VISN began broadcast in 1988 aired about 16 hours a day and had religious programs from mainline Protestant denominations like the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, and others. Roman Catholic, LDS Church, Jewish and Islamic faiths also provided programming. VISN aired in mornings and evenings. ACTS commenced operations in 1984 and aired programming from evangelical and fundamentalist non- charismatic Christian groups like Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Reformed Church, Association of Regular Baptist Churches, as well as well known evangelists like Jerry Falwell, Charles Stanley, D James Kennedy, among others. Both channels had several hours a week of religious children's programs, some of which overlapped. These shows included Sunshine Factory, Joy Junction, Davey and Goliath, Jot, and others.

In 1993, the network was renamed "The Faith and Values Channel". It began to phase out religious programming in 1994, when a few secular shows were added, such as exercise shows, health and cooking shows, and family-friendly dramas and movies. More secular programming was added in 1996. At that time religious programming went down to about 10 hours a day. Faith And Values was then renamed 'The Odyssey Channel", using the domain name Odysseyfamily.com for posting TV listings.

Crown Media Holdings and The Jim Henson Company bought stakes in Odyssey in November 1998. The Hallmark/Henson version of Odyssey launched on April 4, 1999, and the airing of religious programs went down to four hours a day. Some classic sitcoms, children's programming, and more family movies were added. Henson sold its interest in the channel to Crown Media Holdings in 2000. Odyssey then dropped much of the children's programming and cut back the religious shows to a few hours on Sundays.

 History as Hallmark Channel
The channel was officially renamed The Hallmark Channel on August 5, 2001. The channel completely dropped religious programing altogether, but continued to focus on family and drama shows, drama movies, classic sitcoms, and other general entertainment. A remnant of the VISN network continues to own about 5% of the channel, and still produces some content for them. The change meant that The Kermit Channel in Asia was also changed to The Hallmark Channel, reducing the former to a three-hour block on Hallmark.

Hallmark Channel aired an original weekday morning show entitled "New Morning" in 2002 and added a Sunday morning version, hosted by Naomi Judd, entitled "Naomi's New Morning" in 2005. The show was pulled from the schedule in early 2007.

David Evans was CEO of the newly-developing network, until he resigned in May 2006. The network was without a formal CEO until October 2006, when Henry Schleiff was appointed as the new CEO, overseeing all of the networks’ divisions. Prior to this position, Schleiff was Chairman and CEO of Court TV.

In January 2007, Hallmark Channel dropped the Hallmark crown from its logo, but still uses it in certain places on-air, and in other countries. In 2008, Hallmark Channel unveiled a new branding campaign with predominantly yellow-ish gold coloring, a stylized logo, and a new slogan, "Make Yourself At Home". In January 2010, their on-air branding was revamped for HD broadcasting. A predominatly lavender color scheme, 3D renderings of the Hallmark script logo, and relatively simple elements make up the new look, including a new slogan, "Celebrate Life's Moments." Also, that month, the crown was reinstated on their on-screen bug for the 100th anniversary of Hallmark and, as of June 2010, has returned to full time use on the bug, promos and their website.

On May 27, 2007, Hallmark Channel launched "Watch With Me", a new national public affairs initiative aimed to promote programming for families to watch together, and "to spend more time together."

In February 2008, the Hillary Clinton campaign purchased an hour of Hallmark Channel's primetime under a paid programming arrangement on February 4, 2008, the day before the multi-state "Super Tuesday " primaries.

On May 6, 2009, Henry Schlieff stepped down as CEO. William J. Abbott, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales stepped in to the position the same day. Both parties said Schleiff's departure was amicable. Later that month it was announced that Crown Media Holdings had put the channel up for sale, which was burdened with over $1 billion in debt for the network. After over a month with no prospects for buying the network, it was taken off the block; the board blamed the large debt for the lack of interest. CEO William J. Abbott decided that Crown Media Holdings would take the network in a younger, "lighter" direction, while continuing to cater to baby boomers.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Hallmark Channel", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.