Written by By Lisa Harrison, CNN
“Heard of Douglas Adams?” One woman’s answer to that question is dedicated to the renowned “Doctor Who” creator.
“There’s a woman who has told me about Douglas Adams and I’m glad she did. Is there a hub in Chicago where you can get this famous book for 99 cents?” shouts the shy girl, as it suddenly dawns on her who this source of information is.
Her discovery is part of a Hallmark Channel original movie called “An Unexpected Christmas,” which begins Wednesday on Lifetime and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channels.
It’s also the opening of a new holiday series by the well-established network, set to continue through 2020.
“These movies are meant to be joyful family entertainment and funny adventures” says Michelle Vicary, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries president. “We hope that our viewers will find this a great opportunity to escape their cares and enjoy some holiday cheer.”
It’s ‘The Secret of Crème’ for Hallmark
So far the first season of the new series, which includes five 90-minute episodes, has garnered huge ratings, topping Hallmark Movie Channel’s numbers for original movies in 2018.
“We’ve grown from the fact that we could draw small-town families into our Saturday night programming,” adds Vicary. “It’s obviously a great place to watch documentaries and reality TV and great comedies. Now we are showing comedies, dramas and movies as well. This means that we are reaching an adult audience as well, and that’s great for us.”
Hallmark Channel came on the scene in the mid-1990s with popular movies and programs starring its first president, Bill Abbott.
It moved to its own cable channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, in 2015.
Can you find the hidden gem on Hallmark?
The channel is also expanding its digital offerings to include short-form TV programming, as well as stand-alone video apps.
In addition to “An Unexpected Christmas,” the network has another 90-minute holiday-themed movie in development, about a struggling theatre actor who receives unexpected help from the person who saved his life years ago.
As well as Christmas movies, the schedule includes “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” about the popular holiday icon who casts a spell over citizens in an abandoned Midwest mill town; “Paula’s Best Christmas Ever,” about a couple trying to reignite their love for one another on their anniversary; and “Christmas Under Wraps,” about a young mother who moves with her family to a small Alaska town where Christmas happens year-round, and “Everybody’s Got Something,” about a pair of newlyweds who both had tough divorces from their respective spouses.
“We are looking to bring an array of holiday stories to our viewers, and we are always looking for the next holiday phenomenon,” Vicary says.