November 18, 2012

Hallmark’s holiday movies always a joy

Posted in Between Us column, Movies, Television at 4:09 pm by dinaheng

Laughter, joy and love are at the heart of good holiday movies, and no network airs more original Christmas movies than the Hallmark Channel.

This year, Hallmark will air 12 new holiday films, along with five original specials, that are sure to please those looking for family-friendly entertainment and a positive message of hope.

“This is such a joyous time of year,” says Elizabeth Yost, vice president of original programming for Crown Media Family Networks. “Christmas is a season of hope, when miracles happen. It’s a time when we do things for others, and celebrate as a family. That’s what we try to give viewers in our movies.”

There’s something for everyone in the mix of movies, ranging from romantic comedies to dramas, and befitting the holidays, all come with guaranteed happy endings.

This Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern, there’s “Naughty or Nice,” starring Hilarie Burton as Krissy Kringle, a holiday humbug fired from her job who happens to discover Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” book, left behind after visiting a child. When she realizes the magical book really works, she sets out to expose the bad deeds of everyone around her. What she learns about her long-time boyfriend Lance (played by Matt Dallas), however,  leads her discover to that the book also reveals the nice in people, a balance that makes all the difference.

The Christmas films, which began airing November 3 with “Christmas Song,” “Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” “The Wishing Tree,” and more will repeat throughout the season.

“When you have 12 movies, it’s easy to mix different styles,” Yost explains. “We have comedies, romantic comedies, drama, warm weather settings and cold weather settings. The romantic comedies and romantic dramas are very successful for us. We try to offer themes that are different. Otherwise, there’s no surprise.”

While the movies center around Christmas movies, a cross-cultural romance is at the heart of “Hitched for the Holidays,” which airs Sunday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The film stars Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire as a young Italian man and a young Jewish woman who are under some family pressure to find a mate.

“They decide they’ll be each other’s mate for the season,” Yost says. “So they celebrate Christmas with his family, and Hanukkah with her family. It’s something many people will relate to, with some real laugh-out-loud moments.”

This year is the Hallmark Channel’s 10th season of airing original Christmas movies, and fans have no problem taking note of their favorites. In a recent Facebook poll, nearly one million fans named “The Christmas Card” as their favorite Hallmark Channel Original Holiday Movie of All-Time. The film, which aired in 2006, starred John Newton as Captain Cody Cullen, who gets a “Dear Soldier” card sent by a stranger named Faith Spelman (played by Alice Evans). Drawing strength from her note, he survives the war in Afghanistan and sets out to find her.

“ ‘The Christmas Card’ was about giving back to others, and was one of our most meaningful movies,” Yost says. “Audiences really resonated with it. My niece recently got married, and when her father-in-law learned that I work for the Hallmark Channel, he started talking about ‘The Christmas Card.’ The military theme resonated so much with him, he started crying.”

Yost says holiday celebrations are synonymous with the Hallmark brand, and the network aims to air movies at Christmastime that reflect the meaning of the holidays.

“The movies are about the wishes we make to Santa, and how they can come true,” Yost says. “They’re about learning that what you give, instead of what you get, is really what’s important. Audiences can tune in every week for a new one through the holidays.”

For listings of Hallmark Channel movies, check out


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