Edited Collection on the Hallmark Channel and its programming

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell

Contributions are sought for an interdisciplinary collection of essays on the Hallmark television channels to be published by McFarland & Co. We are interested in a sustained exploration of the television channel and brand as a cultural phenomenon. At the end of 2017, The Washington Postpublished an article entitled “We can’t take any more of 2017, so we’ve turned to the Hallmark Channel in desperation.” The article described men and women – but mostly women – engaging in a particular brand of escapism from the seemingly daily barrage of bad news: watching Hallmark Channel original movies. Twitter and watercoolers were abuzz with talk about Hallmark’s Christmas and holiday movies, which begin airing in October with great fanfare and reappear in the summer as part of the network’s Christmas in July programming. As people found themselves binge-watching stories about women finding love with prince charming, a gruff neighbor, or a kindly single father, they were comforted and removed from the anxiety-filled politically ravaged world of late 2017. In the 21stcentury, the Hallmark media empire expanded, creating the Hallmark Movie Channel (now renamed Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and Hallmark Drama. Hallmark’s brand of comforting, often sentimental movies also includes period and heart-warming television series and mystery film series that center on strong, intuitive female leads. By creating reliable and consistent content, Hallmark offered people a calming retreat from the real world. It is clear that the Hallmark Channel and its affiliated networks are having a cultural moment.

            There have been no significant articles or book-length study on Hallmark channels, and with this recent surge in popularity, we believe there is no better time to examine this successful television brand. From the long-running and well-known Hallmark Hall of Fame movies to the plethora of Christmas movies that are released each year, there is a wealth of material to be explored. Of particular note, we hope to explore the network’s problematic relationship with race, the dominance of Christianity and heteronormativity, the messages being sent to women about the importance of work, love, and family, and the channel’s increasing development in repeated seasonal programming.

 

 

Possible Topics:

-      History of the channels 

-      Branding and advertising on the channels

-      Increasing popularity of Hallmark movies after the 2016 presidential election and Hallmark as a cultural phenomenon 

-      Success of long running series like When Calls the Heartand Chesapeake Shoresand strategies of syndication

-      The Fanaticism of Hallmark (“Hearties,” for example, who are devoted to When Calls the Heart)

-      Seasonal programming (Winterfest, Valentine’s Day, Spring Fling/Spring Fever, June Weddings, Christmas in July, Autumn Harvest, Countdown to Christmas)

-      Hallmark’s interpretation of the holiday season

-      Hallmark’s depiction of the 21stcentury family

-      Hallmark and whiteness

-      Hallmark and feminism

-      Nostalgia and familiarity in the Hallmark movie

-      Hallmark Hall of Fame and prestige movies

-      The rise of dogs/pet-related careers in Hallmark movies

-      Kitten Bowl and the American Rescue Dog Show, Hallmark helping animals

-      The success of the Good Witch movies/series

-      Reoccurring careers for women on the Hallmark channel 

-      Successful movie series starring female leads on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel (like Garage Sale Mysteries; Aurora Teagarden Mysteries; Hailey Dean Mysteries; Emma Fielding Mysteries; Fixer Upper Mysteries; Flower Shop Mysteries; Murder, She Baked Mysteries)

-      Home and Family– the talk show of Hallmark Channel

-      TheLove Comes Softly series, based on the books by Janette Oke, and other Christian fiction and literary adaptions

-      The military and the Hallmark movie

-      Use of non-Hallmark syndicated content on the Hallmark Channel (such asI Love LucyFrasier, and GoldenGirls) and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries (such as Psychand Monk)

 

Submissions due: May 1, 2018

All submissions must represent previously unpublished work. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and CV via email to HallmarkTelevisionBook@gmail.com

Selected authors will be notified by July 15, 2018 and will contribute a full-length essay of approximately 6000-8000 words by March 1, 2019. All chapters will be reviewed by the editors before submission to the publisher, and potentially subject to further review.