The CEO of the Hallmark Channel’s parent company says the network is “open” to movies about same-sex couples, although he did not say anything is in the works.
Bill Abbott, the CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, told the Hollywood Reporter's podcast, TV's Top 5, that the Hallmark Channel has grown more diverse in recent years with African American leads and stories about Jewish couples.
Lesley Goldberg of The Hollywood Reporter asked Abbott: “Have you talked about incorporating stories about same-sex couples at Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Is that something that’s on your radar as you look to maybe broaden out some of what your programming is?”
“We look at a variety of different things,” Abbott responded, “so we’re always looking for the best stories that we think will resonate in the best way. And so we’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship in any space.”
Goldberg, who is lesbian, asked Abbott if the Hallmark Channel’s goal was “more about attracting a big audience” or about “trying to be inclusive.”
“I would love to have a Christmas movie with a same-sex couple on there,” she said, adding that her relatives watch the Hallmark Channel.
“My wife and I are not reflected on anything that you guys are doing,” Goldberg said.
“In terms of broadening out the demographic,” Abbott said, “it’s something we’re always thinking about, always considering. And we’ll continue to make the movies where the best scripts are delivered to us -- and where we think have the most potential.”
Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, mirrored Abbott’s comments in a statement to The Wrap.
“We are continuing to expand our diversity,” Vicary told The Wrap. “We are looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies … and we are looking to expand and represent the United States as a whole.”
The Hallmark Channel is celebrating its 10th-annual Countdown to Christmas lineup this holiday season, with 24 premiere movies. Candace Cameron Bure stars in a new film, Christmas Town, while Dolly Parton is featured in another new movie, Christmas at Dollywood.
“We have more [Christmas] movies than we’ve ever had,” Abbott said.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Crown Media Family Networks
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.