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Hallmark Channel Upfront Shifts From Swanky to Snowy Amid Storm

Hallmark Channel executives had intended to host a swanky upfront dinner event for advertisers on Wednesday night at Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room. But the snow storm that battered much of the Northeast throughout the day scuttled those plans.

The venue closed early because of the weather. But the Hallmark team called it off Tuesday night after the dire forecasts of a foot or more of snow made the realize that few attendees were likely to make it an evening event.

Instead of giving up, Hallmark executives took their act and two willing stars — Candace Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar — to Central Park for a quick presentation via Facebook Live at around 6:30 p.m. ET. The snowfall in the video was picture-perfect for Hallmark Channel, given the cabler’s heavy investment in Christmas-themed programming.

“We really wish the weather had turned out differently, but we’re only 219 days from counting down to Christmas,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Hallmark parent Crown Media Family Networks.

Abbott appeared in a Santa Claus suit while Ed Georger, Crown Media’s exec VP of ad sales, donned a full body reindeer costume. Georger held Rudolph’s head in his hand while he pitched “some big announcements here in today’s winter wonderland.” The costumes were rounded up at the last minute to take advantage of the snowy backdrop.

The storm that socked New York City starting early Wednesday — the first full day of spring — was expected to leave behind 12 to 18 inches of snow by the time it clears out on Thursday.

Among the news bulletins delivered by the executives in the park was a season six renewal for Hallmark’s signature drama series “When Calls the Heart” and a sophomore season order for the docu series “Meet the Peetes.”

Moreover, the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel is adding three telepic franchises in the coming year: “The Chronicle Mysteries,” about a novelist who takes on a cold case; “Picture Perfect,” about a photographer who helps police solve crimes; and “Crossword Mysteries,” about a crossword puzzle editor who gets pulled into a police investigation.

The presentation was a brief two minutes with the foursome standing outside on a day when the temperature hovering around 30 degrees. But it was an upfront, and an upfront wouldn’t be complete without a sunny ratings stat delivered by an advertising sales chief. Georger obliged by bragging about Hallmark being the “No. 1-rated cable network during the fourth quarter.”

(Pictured: Danica McKellar, Ed Georger, Bill Abbott, and Candace Cameron Bure)

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