July 20, 2019

In Praise of the Hallmark Channel

“When Lori Loughlin was arrested earlier this year for her alleged participation in a college admissions scam, Crown Media Holdings announced the actress had been dropped from her Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart. Crown also suspended production on Loughlin’s Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series Garage Sale Mystery, with no plans to air the already completed 16th film or to finish the almost-wrapped 17th.

This was shocking news to a lot of TV viewers, raising some unsettling questions. Like: What the heck are When Calls the Heart and Garage Sale Mystery? How could these series have been on the air continuously for over five years, when no one’s ever heard of them?

Don’t feel bad if you were one of those folks scratching your head about the existence of two — two! — thriving Lori Loughlin series. If you’re not a regular viewer of Hallmark programming, there’s little chance you would’ve encountered either.

But don’t assume that no one knows anything about When Calls the Heart or Garage Sale Mystery, just because the showbiz press pays them almost no attention. Believe it or not, nearly every night over a million viewers tune in to one of the Hallmark channels, to watch smart, engaging middle-aged women run businesses, raise families, find romance, and solve crimes. One might even say that Garage Sale Mystery — like much of the original programming on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries — is, in its own way, progressively feminist.”

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