Americans have voiced their grievances about the coronavirus pandemic media coverage causing anxiety and panic. Hallmark Channel is looking to sprinkle some positivity to hopefully divert everyone’s attention to something that is sure to bring some much-needed stress relief and happiness.
Known for their popular original holiday films that air during the network’s “Countdown to Christmas campaign,” Hallmark has added 27-holiday films to their lineup to begin airing on Friday, Mar. 20 amidst the chaos.
A brief history of Hallmark Channel’s ‘Countdown to Christmas’
The network debuted their first-ever original holiday film in 2000 – but, “Countdown to Christmas” didn’t begin until years later in 2009. From the last weekend in October until the first week in January, Hallmark Channel dedicates its programming to include a mix of holiday movies, specials and holiday-themed original programming.
The number of original films has grown year to year, mainly due to viewership. 2016 saw 28 films, while 2017 saw 33. Since 2012, the network has incorporated a Christmas in July event that features encore airings of previous high-rate holiday movies.
The July event also launches Hallmark Cards’ holiday ornament lines for the year. The campaign was expanded in 2013, with the daytime talk show series Home and Family providing holiday tips to viewers on everything from decor to shopping deals.
In 2014, the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Cards collaborated for the first time on a movie, Northpole, which was shown during Countdown to Christmas. 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of “Countdown to Christmas,” with 40 new holiday-inspired films.
The network has evolved in terms of casting to feature more diverse casts in its programming, including films starring actors and actresses like Vivica A. Fox, Tatyana Ali, Christina Milian, Patti LaBelle and Dondré Whitfield. Prior to, and even after, the network was accused of lacking diversity. Hallmark defended their programming and lauded itself as an all-inclusive option, telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2019,
“We are very proud of those movies and we think those movies really reflect an across-the-board approach to celebrating the holiday season.”
Hallmark Channel adds original Christmas movies to help those quarantined during coronavirus pandemic
Starting Mar. 20 at 12 PM EST, Hallmark will begin airing original “Countdown to Christmas” holiday films. The lineup will consist of popular holiday flicks from recent years, beginning with Full House star Candace Cameron Bure’s A Christmas Detour, which debuted in 2015.
Representatives from the network exclusively revealed to Entertainment Tonight that the decision came as a response to fans’ desires for feel-good programming to help aid them and pass the time during city-wide shutdowns across the nation amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The jam-packed weekend will include over two dozens original holiday classics, ending with Christmas in Rome starring Mean Girls’ Lacey Chabert on Sunday, Mar. 22.
Other notable Hallmark stars featured in the weekend marathon will include Danica McKellar, Kristin Chenoweth, Torrey DeVitto, Holly Robinson Peete, Chad Michael Murray, Ryan Paevey, Brandon Routh, Adrian Grenier, and Jesse Metcalfe.
Following Chabert’s film, Hallmark will debut a new original film, In the Key of Love, starring Laura Osnes and Scott Michael Foster. The film will kick off the network’s “Spring Fling” lineup.