Hallmark Channel

Life at Hallmark: Usually pleasant, always busy


At 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, two new shows collide -- "Chesapeake Shores" and a "Garage Sale Mysteries" movie. Both are pretty, both are pleasant (usually) and both are Hallmark.

Even in summer, Hallmark is busy. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

LOS ANGELES -- This
is the world of the 10-week Christmas.

The parade begins, spreading envy through the North


Growing up in Wisconsin, I had one clear realization each January: I'd really rather be in Pasadena. Apparently, others had that same feeling. Now -- on Jan. 2, not Jan. 1 -- comes the annual parade, with Mark Steines as one of thehosts. Here's te story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

TV movie savors llamas and llove and good wine


Even on our most serious days, TV has room for light-hearted (and, sometimes, light-headed) fun. On Sunday, when most people are watching the presidential debate (or football, or HBO), the Hallmark Channel has alternatives. On the East Coast, where the debate starts at 9 p.m., it's the season-finale of "Chesapeake Shores"; on the West Coast (6 p.m.), it's the second half of a light movie called "Autumn in the Vineyard."

On Valentine's Day, love battles zombies and such


It's easy to assume that all of TV's romance movies are the same. (Many of them do use variations of the same plot.) But the two that debut on Valentine's Day are near the top of their field. Hallmark's "Anything For Love" has a clever plot; UP's "Love Finds You in Valentine" is handsomely filmed. They're on a night (Feb. 14) that isn't always lovey-dovey. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Life throws details -- fun ones -- at former Iowa kid



When he was growing up in Iowa -- playing football and de-tasseling corn and such -- Mark Steines probably never guessed what was coming up. These days, he's a TV star, doing a home show, working with John DeLorean's ex-wife, doing July interviews about Christmas. That's show business; here's the story I sent to papers:   

Playing a mom? It helps to have a fearless one



Lots of Bonnie Somerville's best roles put her on familiar turf. She played a singer-songwriter, which she is. She's played cops, which her grandfather and cousins have been. And now she plays a mother; her own mom provides an interesting background. Here's the story I sent to papers:


The Watsons take a journey for the decades


This one is of particular interest to Michigan people: Tapping into his Flint roots, Christopher Paul  Curtis has created award-winning books; now one of them will be a cable movie Friday. Here's the story I sent to papers:



By MIKE HUGHES


A town grows in her mind, her books and her TV show


This is one of the hardest -- and, maybe, most rewarding -- things a writer can do: Create a fictional town, filled with continuing people and places. At times -- in Jan Karon's Mitford novels or the Mayberry or Avonlea TV series -- it can work splendidly.

Now Debbie Macomber's fictional Cedar Cove -- already big in her novels -- gets its cable series, starting Saturday (July 20) on the Hallmark Channel. Here's the story I sent to papers:

 

Kellie Martin finds some goofiness between the tears


Kellie Martin has been terrific at her specialty -- dead-serious TV drama -- for decades. Now, however, she occasionally gets to be silly. That includes a fun-enough movie that debuts this weekend, Oct. 20-21. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

Kellie Martin get a chance to be silly
now. Consider that the universe being fair.

“I've had plenty of chances to cry,”
she said.

Not a puppy, but a lot to love


Dog actors -- like human actors -- can vary sharply, you know. I found the "Frasier" and "Golden Girls" dogs to be warm and low-key; I never really liked the "Wishbone" dog, whose owner insisted he not be touched.

And I intantly loved Bug Z, star of the new cable film "Puppy Love." He's no puppy, but he seems to burst with enthusiasm. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

In a room stuffed with TV stars, it was
easy to spot the happy one.