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First Look: “Tales From a Neverending Story”

Potter wannabe takes aim at Hallmark families

Outlet: Hallmark Channel

Format: One-hour fantasy science-fiction series based on the bestselling 1979 novel “The Neverending Story” follows the adventures of an overweight, motherless 12-year-old boy for whom books are the only escape.

Key creatives: Writers David Preston and Leila Basen most recently collaborated on the TV series “Bob & Margaret,” “Emily of New Moon” and “Black Fly.” Exec producers are Steve Hewitt, Michael Prupus and Rolf Schneider.

Potential: The buzz over the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie could help this fantasy, which is somewhat similar in theme and targets a similar audience. It’s also the highest-profile original programming for a network that was recently renamed and is looking to this skein as a potential breakout hit.

Quoteworthy: ” ‘Tales’ represents what we’re trying to accomplish with our original programming, which is to focus on an adult audience with product that appeals to an all-family audience,” says Margaret Loesch, president-CEO of Crown Media United States, which operates Hallmark Channel U.S. “It’s a time-tested story, and quite a saga that really sweeps the audience away. We’ve gotten a handle on creating good-looking stories, and this is a very lush-looking production.”

Premieres: Oct. 6 at noon (the net will also run it in the early evening at some point during the season) — Rick Kissell

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