Hallmark Channel loads sked with movies

Partners with NYU to showcase short films

Citing an overall theme of "predictability in an unpredictable world," the home of family-driven programming, Hallmark Channel, has unveiled an aggressive slate of 35 original made-for movies for the 2009-10 season.

Titles slated to debut in the Saturday 9-11 p.m. block include "Mrs. Miracle," the story of a magical housekeeper who arrives at Christmastime; "A Soldier's Love Story," which focuses on the impact of a young boy's letter to a soldier serving overseas; romantic dramedy "Uncorked"; "Shadow on the Mesa," about a half-Indian gunfighter who meets the white father he never knew; and the holiday-driven "Christmas in Canaan," "The Christmas Gift" and "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas," the whimsical tale of a family trying to save the annual tradition.

Hallmark Channel, in addition, has formed a partnership with the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & TV of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts to showcase short films submitted by the student body and alumni filmmakers. Judged under the branded banner of "Film Positive," "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin will participate as one of the judges to determine if the film is worthy to air.

And the cable net has announced that it remains second overall among all cable networks in prime-time households for C3 audience retention, with 95.1% retention in fourth quarter 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research. (First was Nick at Nite, at 95.7%.)