Hallmark Channel Sets Family Movie Series

Ta Da! Hallmark Is Latest Cable Rebrand

The Hallmark Channel is refreshing its image as it grows beyond the movie-of-the-week genre. On Oct. 1, the Crown Media network will bow a revised tagline -- "The Heart of TV" -- meant to capture the resonance of its past and reposition it in a crowded cable landscape.

Hallmark Channel is launching a new family TV-movie series.

In partnership with Walmart, Proctor & Gamble, Walden Media and Arc Entertainment, the cable network will unveil Walden Family Theater as a destination for family-friendly films, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

There will be six new films airing on Fridays throughout the year, in addition to a slew of favorites from Hallmark Channel's library. Walmart will sell DVDs of the new movies the Tuesday after they air.

STORY: Hallmark Gives First Scripted Series Order to Andie MacDowell's 'Cedar Cove'

Walden Family Theater will debut March 15 with the world premiere of the Walden/Arc-produced film Return to Nim's Island starring Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Walmart will sell the DVD on March 19. (The film is scheduled to hit movie theaters April 4 in Australia.)

Return to Nim's Island is the sequel to Walden Media's 2008 feature and picks up a few years later with 14-year-old Nim more determined than ever to protect her island and its wildlife.

The second title in the franchise will be Space Warriors, starring Dermot Mulroney, Danny Glover, Josh Lucas, Mira Sorvino and Thomas Horn. The movie, about space-camp trainees who take action when danger hits the International Space Station, will premiere in May.

Additional titles and airdates will be announced shortly.

STORY: Hallmark Channel Debuts Rebranding, New Logo

“We at Hallmark Channel could not have asked for better collaborators for Walden Family Theater than Walmart and P&G, as leading sponsors, and Walden and ARC as producers -- these are all brands that share in our passion for and commitment to family entertainment,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “This collaboration is a 360-degree effort that allows us a unique opportunity to further revive the practice of families regularly gathering to enjoy television entertainment as a shared experience.”

Added Michael Flaherty, co-founder of Walden Media: “Walden Family Theater is a great step forward for us to continue the Walden mission. These great films we are presenting on The Hallmark Channel and/or making with ARC reinforces our vision to provide families a chance to recapture imagination and rekindle curiosity through entertainment. These films will stand side by side with some of our proudest features like our Narnia movies, Holes, Bridge to Terabithia, Amazing Grace, and Journey to the Center Of The Earth.”

For Hallmark Channel's part, it will launch its first scripted series, Cedar Cove with Andie MacDowell, with a two-hour movie on Saturday, June 1 at 8 p.m., with the weekly episodes to air a week later. In October, the Crown Media-owned network debuted a new logo and tagline, "The Heart of TV," as it continues to evolve beyond the movie-of-the-week genre.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com
Twitter: @insidethetube