Hallmark to Present Record Number of Original Holiday Films in 2017
As committed as we are at keeping the magic in Christmas at Hallmark CHANNEL and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, even we have to admit: Christmas movies do not just magically happen. And to ensure we create all the on-screen wonder our viewers wait for all season long, we have begun production on the first eight of 32 all-new, original movies for Hallmark Channel's COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries' THE MOST WONDERFUL MOVIES OF CHRISTMAS in 2017. Our success with these films continues to grow each year; last season Hallmark CHANNEL ranked No. 1 with women 25 to 54, beating all other networks.
"The Hallmark brand is synonymous with family, tradition, relationships, and romance, so for us, it makes sense to have an 'always on' holiday strategy, with the biggest holiday being Christmas," said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming & Publicity, Crown Media Family Networks.
"We were the first cable network to create a 24/7 holiday destination on television, and our viewership has grown every single year - 85 million viewers in 2016 alone. We have a distinct brand of content viewers come to see, and the TV home they think of for holiday is Hallmark," Vicary concluded.
Determined to best our own record, Hallmark CHANNEL will premiere 20 new Christmas movies and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will premiere 12. Here's a rundown of the first eight films to be produced for Holiday 2017 (additional films and premiere dates to be announced later this year):
Lydia, a successful professional organizer, is constantly trying to grow her business, but even her ambition takes a back seat to love when she meets Robert, a frazzled widower with two young children. A toy inventor, Robert is asked to present his new Christmas toy line to a superstore. His challenge is he only has 12 days to get his life and his business in order. Talk about a Christmas rush! Lydia shows Robert that this task goes way deeper than messy junk drawers and encompasses every aspect of his life. While she's intent on helping him straighten out details he had long ignored, Robert teaches the buttoned-up Lydia that messiness can be a delightful part of life.
'Christmas Festival of Ice'
Those years of law school pay off for Emma but not in ways one would expect. When she finds out that her beloved ice-sculpting contest, part of her hometown's Christmas festival, has been canceled, she springs into action. Determined to keep it going, she enlists sponsors and artists. Nick, the town's ace artisan, isn't interested in competing this year, but Emma wants him as her teammate. Considering what she's managed to accomplish, Nick is impressed and signs on. As Emma and Nick work together, she realizes there's more to life than legal briefs. And transformed by Emma's can-do spirit, Nick is invigorated, too. They just might have a shot at winning this very special Christmas CONTEST -- and a lot more.
'Christmas Sister Swap'
Just because they are identical does not mean these twins even like each other. Estranged twin sisters get together for an obligatory pre-Christmas lunch, a year after their mother died. Both women are unhappy and frustrated with their own lives. Though not close, each is envious of the other's life. What's a twin to do but take advantage of this? And who would be the wiser? They do what any identical twins in need of new outlooks would do -- they swap lives until Christmas Day. And by doing so, each woman discovers the true meaning of her life and gains a deeper perspective and appreciation for what she already had.
Holly Kuhn is on her annual mission of finding a majestic specimen for The National Tree. While searching for the perfect Christmas fir for the Washington, D.C. Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony, Holly receives a letter from a boy detailing why his town boasts the most beautiful evergreen. Holly travels to the boy's quaint New England town, where she meets his handsome uncle, Sam McCary. Sam owns the land from which it grows and is a protective steward. It holds such deep meaning for Sam that he's not about to let it be CHOPPED down even for such an honor. Still, Holly finds herself falling for Sam and they discover the magic that this perfect tree can bring, just in time for the holidays.
'Marry Me at Christmas'
Organizing a Christmas wedding is a true treat for bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug. She loves the challenge of finding the perfect dress for the bride and orchestrating an exquisite event. What Madeline didn't expect was to be swept off her feet by the bride's gorgeous brother, movie star, Jonny Blaze. Jonny came to the quirky town of Fool's Gold to support his sister -- not to fall in love. Yet Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he's ever met. Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. Madeline finds the real Jonny even more captivating than her celebrity crush. Will the action star be brave enough to take on the role of a lifetime?
Jessica was delighted to start running her New England town's Christmas events after her mom died. The main event is the parade on Christmas Day when the jolly man in red greets the crowd. For the last 30 years, Henry, owner of a famous Santa School, played St. Nick. When Henry falls ill, and everyone else he has trained is already booked, Jessica's in a predicament. The only possible replacement is Henry's son, Ben, an Uber driver who never wanted to follow in his father big black leather boots. Desperate, Jessica sets off 200 miles north to find Ben, and lures him to town by hiring him to drive her back. The trek is daunting; the real Kris Kringle makes it around the world easier than Ben and Jessica on their return. Still, once Ben dons the red suit, he feels the spirit of Christmas -- and soon begins to realize he may have found the new, real-life Mrs. Claus.
Work-obsessed Eric Randall, chief technology officer of a major tech company in Kansas City, is laid off two weeks before Christmas. Divorced and the father of three, this will be Eric's first Christmas alone with the kids. His ex-wife, Marie, encourages Eric to postpone a job search and instead make Christmas a true family holiday. Unfortunately, he's better with computers than children. With baby Max strapped into a backpack, Eric is determined to build a sled with son Liam, no small feat for the math-challenged boy. Eric also gets roped into volunteering at daughter Chelsea's junior cotillion class. At least her teacher, Kate Moore, is lovely. Kate teaches Eric some dance moves and Eric realizes he's avoided relationships by burying himself in work. Though enthralled with all old-fashioned romance, Kate finds a lot to like in this digital-age dad while Eric learns that FAMILY TIME does not need to be restricted to Christmas.
'Coming Home for Christmas'
Allie Richfield is at a crossroads when she lands a job as house manager for the exquisite Ashford Estate in the Virginia countryside. While preparing the place for sale, Allie plans one final Christmas Eve gala for the Marley family, though they seem to be a family in name only. There's Kip Marley, who never met a party he didn't like; Robert, the handsome but all-business executor of the estate; Sloane, who arrives with her two young children, sans husband, and the 90-year-old matriarch, Pippa, a spitfire who doesn't want to put the house up for sale at all. As Allie is inserted into the home and the lives of the Marley family, she finds herself drawn to Robert -- even as Kip pursues her. Can she navigate her suddenly complicated love life, while helping mend family feuds and maybe teaching all the true spirit of Christmas?