Major Changes Are Coming To Hallmark Channels In 2024

Hallmark Media's plans for 2024 prove that although it's ever-evolving, the go-to network for feelgood content always stays true to its core values. During a March appearance on the "Hallmark Mysteries & More" podcast, Lisa Hamilton Daly, their Executive Vice President for programming, confirmed that viewers should expect plenty more high-quality entertainment in their upcoming projects. "Our stuff is starting to look a little more sophisticated," she bragged. "We're partnering with amazing writers and cinematographers and, you know, actors and directors. I think we've just expanded the pool of talent that we're working with." 

Hamilton Daly further noted that their writers have been given considerably more free rein to go beyond what one would generally expect from Hallmark's output. However, she was also quick to note that the creative changes wouldn't bring about complete whiplash for their loyal audience because they still boast the classic elements that make Hallmark movies so perfect for when you're feeling down. Ultimately, Hamilton Daly's vision is to create a domino effect that attracts better talent to their arsenal with each improvement. 

Although she's only spoken publicly about this plan in 2024, it's safe to say that it's been in the works for quite some time since we've already seen big names like Blake Shelton and Dolly Parton attaching themselves to the network. With all these improvements and new talents coming on board, Hamilton Daly proudly teased some of the exciting new storylines in Hallmark's future and even dropped little hints of what we can expect.

Hallmark stories will dive deeper into their subject matter

During her March 2024 appearance on "Hallmark Mysteries & More," Lisa Hamilton Daly admitted that many people still turn their noses up at the idea of watching a Hallmark movie. However, she aims to challenge their preconceived notions with superior-quality made-for-TV movies that might even parallel those shown in cinemas. The network's executive vice president for programming detailed how their writing team has been actively increasing the humor in their scripts and brainstorming ideas for more creative themes like period dramas. 

Hamilton Daly added that they've also been putting different spins on their tried and true formula to keep Hallmark's work from going stale or being too similar to their past productions. "Everything we do is becoming more unique in its own way," she said, explaining that they're delving further into core themes too. Hamilton Daly elaborated, "If we have a movie, say, about the LGBTQ community, I really want us to have something that feels more realistic that's built around it, you know, [and] that the community feels like [it's] something you'd really find." 

When the host asked if she had any fresh Hallmark movies that particularly impressed her, Hamilton Daly showed off her great taste with her answer: "A Biltmore Christmas," starring Kristoffer Polaha and Bethany Joy Lenz, one of the many "One Tree Hill" actors who went on to be in Hallmark movies. The executive VP asserted that it was a prime example of their improved production skills, which would take Hallmark's beloved holiday movies to a whole new level.

The channel has been subtly experimenting for a while

In Lisa Hamilton Daly's November 2023 Vulture interview, she acknowledged that Hallmark typically shied away from creating purely comedic movies because they had been hit-or-miss in the past. But when Christmas 2022 rolled around, they decided to experiment with strictly humor-based films, and two of them ended up being their most well-loved offerings from the season. While Hallmark fans still adored their good old-fashioned Christmas movies, they were equally happy to see more creative ones like "The Royal Nanny."

These changes might be happening predominantly behind the scenes, but we've noticed two major changes with channel rebrands in 2024 already. In early February, the channel announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries was changing its name to Hallmark Mystery in March. While speaking to MCN, Hamilton Daly recalled that when she started at Hallmark, she noticed that the network had a stronger inclination toward producing romantic dramas rather than mysteries. However, for Hamilton Daly, the dramas blended in with their other films and audiences weren't huge fans of the content either. 

So, she heard them loud and clear and turned Hallmark's focus towards more mystery-based content. With that announcement, they also revealed that Hallmark Drama was transforming into Hallmark Family later in February. In a press release posted by TV Insider, Hamilton Daly enthused, "We look forward to debuting the rebranded networks, where fans can continue to enjoy fun, engaging mysteries on Hallmark Mystery and wholesome family stories on Hallmark Family."