Hallmark Hall of Fame Franchise Moves to ABC

Laurence Fishburne

After 16 years at CBS, the fully sponsored films will kick off with a Laurence Fishburne telefilm.

Hallmark announced Thursday a multi-year deal to premiere Hallmark Hall of Fame movies exclusively on the ABC, with encore broadcasts --four airings over the course of a week-- a week later on the Hallmark Channel. 

The news follows a storied 60-year history for the telefilm franchise, which have been broadcast on ABC, NBC and, most recently, a staple of CBS. During that time, the fully sponsored movies have garnered 80 Emmys and 11 Peabody awards. 

“Since our very first talks with ABC last year we’ve looked forward to this announcement,' said Brad Moore, president Hallmark Hall of Fame. "Our agreement to follow ABC premieres with encores on Hallmark Channel is an exciting, unprecedented use of broadcast and cable.”

Added Bill Abbott, president, Crown Media Networks: “This will bring even more exceptional, high-profile programming to our audience, and increase the viewership and impact of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series.  We’re delighted to be a partner.”

The series will kick off pre-Christmas with Have a Little Faith, based on Mitch Albom's best-selling book.  Albom also wrote the screenplay. The telefilm, a Michigan-based production by Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, counts Albom, Brent Shields and Jon Avnet as writer, executive producer and director, respectively. Laurence Fishburne, Bradley Whitford and Martin Landau are set to star.  

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