There is a battle brewing in the world of Christmas movies, it is happening mainly in the US but Canadian Christmas movie watchers will get caught up in it. When I say Christmas movies, most people will think of Hallmark, the greeting card people that churn out dozens of movies for each Christmas season. Between October 21st and December 18th of this year, Hallmark will premiere 31 Christmas/Holiday themed movies, many are filmed in Canada and a handful of those are filmed in Ottawa/Eastern Ontario.
Many will poke fun at the movies, but really, they are 2 hours of simple fun all meant to be light and family oriented. Most will involve a romance that pits two people that are at odds with each other for one reason or another. They are thrown together because of a circumstance that usually brings one the two back home for the holidays. Within the timeline of the movie, it can be 24-48 hours, or a week or two they eventually discover a common bond and by the end of the movie the only that follows the kiss between the two are the film credits.
In Canada these movies can be found mainly on the W Network and CTV Life Channel. I haven’t found others that broadcast the movies. The W Network , known as Hallmark of the North goes wall to wall Christmas from mid-October to Christmas. Yes, don’t worry, there is a library of enough of these movies to be able to go 24/7 for 60+ days.
In the US there are multiple channels for these movies to land on, many like Lifetime are available in Canada by subscription. The Christmas/Romance movie business is big!
These movies are big business and create big stars out of the actors, and these movies are hyped up big time! A recent movie “Three Wise Men and a Baby” featured three ‘Hallmark Hunks’ as estranged brothers that were forced to look after a baby left at the fire station. In this film the men all found personal happiness, and love and the real Christmas spirit by the time the mother came back for the baby (why the baby was left is only talked about in the last 15 mins, no one was charged for abandoning their baby).
In my office at work, I have the view of two TV’s and during the Countdown to Christmas one TV is locked on the W Network and the other is the House of Commons ParlVu. This photo gives you the view I have.
This year however a new TV channel in the US, the Great American Family Channel (GAF) has been scooping stars away from Hallmark. This won’t be so much an issue in the US, but in Canada, GAF is nowhere to be found and I’ve only discovered one of their films scheduled to air in Canada this Christmas.
To understand how this might impact Hallmark, it would be like the Yankees signing away the best of the Toronto Blue Jays. It would take years for the Blue Jays to recover and field a similar strength team through the draft, player development, and trades.
Who are these top names you say that jumped from Hallmark to GAF? I found a story that profiles the Hallmark stars that are no longer there, https://parade.com/1340261/klconniewang/hallmark-stars-on-gac-family/.
Those that watch these films will recognize the faces, not so much the names. The top names are Danica McKellar, Candace Cameron Bure, Jill Wagner and Jen Lilley on the ladies side and for the leading men it’s Trevor Donovan, Chad Michael Murray, Christopher Russell and Sam Page.
The good news for Hallmark is that this now creates opportunity for some younger actors to be given leading roles, if you watch the movies, you’ll now that they are many that could take the place of those that left.
As mentioned earlier, Canadian fans of these films may miss out on seeing some favourites until the GAF can figure out how to make their movies more widely available in Canada. The good news though is that Hallmark has such a library of films with these actors we still have the older movies to watch.
Now, on with the Countdown to Christmas!
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