ABC has entered into an agreement with Hallmark Cards subsidiary Signboard Hill Prods. and RHI Entertainment to supply the network with 10 made-for-TV movies, to begin airing during the 1994-95 season.
The Signboard Hill-RHI co-venture (they’ll jointly produce all projects) represents the first TV production by Hallmark outside of its acclaimed “Hallmark Hall of Fame” series.
An umbrella title may also fly over the new, multi-year ABC franchise.
The Kansas City-based card marketer created Signboard Hill in February 1992 to develop and produce TV and theatrical product. The unit recently partnered with Halmi on “Blind Spot,” a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation that aired on CBS.
ABC recently stated that it would pass on movie projects that rely excessively on violence, and Hallmark has a reputation for supplying more genteel fare — such as CBS’ “O Pioneers!” and “Sarah, Plain and Tall”– that still generate high ratings.
Halmi has become one of TV’s most prolific suppliers of longform programming, including the upcoming CBS miniseries “Return to Lonesome Dove” and “Scarlett,” based on the sequel to “Gone With the Wind.”
ABC traditionally orders fewer than two dozen original movies each year, about half as many as CBS or NBC, due to “Monday Night Football,” which runs for half the 30-week TV season.