Last January, I reported how Bill Abbott stepped down from his presidential and CEO position at Hallmark. Now, another business leader from the Gold Crown company has decided to walk away. On May 17th, Nellie Andreeva, from Deadline, published an article about the departure of Michelle Vicary, who was Hallmark’s executive for programming and production. The article states how Michelle will step down from her position “at the beginning of June”. While no replacements have been announced at this time, Randy Pope and Darren Melameth, the company’s SVPs for Programming, Development, and Content Strategy, will serve “as interim co-heads of the department”. The article does not mention why Michelle decided to leave the company. However, Nellie does write how Wonya Lucas, the current CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, “has led a major restructuring” and made diversity and inclusion “a top priority”.
2021 has, so far, left me wondering if Hallmark has less money than they let on to the public. While everything I’m about to say is pure speculation, I have noticed some things that lead me to believe Hallmark’s entertainment division might not be fiscally strong. Nellie states in the aforementioned article how Lucas’ restructuring of the company has “resulted in some layoffs this year”. Even though the number of layoffs is not mentioned, the news of layoffs is not a good sign for any business. As of mid-to-late May, there have been no announcements for upcoming movies in the Picture Perfect Mysteries series, the Ruby Herring Mysteries series, the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. In fact, there were no new Hallmark Hall of Fame or Signed, Sealed, Delivered films released in 2020. This makes me believe Crown Media Family Networks may be quietly moving away from these series in order to cut costs. In March, it was reported that daytime talk show, Home & Family, would be ending on August 4th. No official reason has been given for the show’s cancellation. Now adding the news of Michelle’s departure, Hallmark appears to be experiencing a rough patch. Everything I said is pure speculation. But I think a tell-tale sign of financial troubles would be if Hallmark created less Christmas movies than they did last year.
What are your thought’s of Michelle’s departure from Hallmark? Do you like the direction the network is currently moving in? Please tell me in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here are the links to the articles I referenced in this post:
Michelle Vicary Steps Down As Crown Media Family Networks’ EVP Programming Amid Continuing Overhaul At Hallmark Channel Parent
8 thoughts on “Word on the Street: Executive Leader, Michelle Vicary, Walks Away from Hallmark”
I wonder if her departure has anything to do with the dramatic revamp of When Calls the Heart (Season8) that has fans furious and walking away from the once popular show? I wonder if she was not pleased with the direction they were forced to take the show? Or perhaps she was instrumental in deciding this new direction for the show and since it dramatically failed she was actually dismissed? Completely my own conspiracy theories. But the timing of her departure, on the heels of the WCTH disastrous finale makes me suspicious. There must be a connection.
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Thanks for visiting my blog, Peg! I, honestly, can’t say if this is the reason why Michelle is leaving Hallmark, because I don’t know how much creative control she had when it comes to ‘When Calls the Heart’. I’ve heard the writers of the show didn’t know how the love triangle would end until half of the filming for season eight was completed. However, this is hearsay and should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s important to remember that no matter who Elizabeth chose, someone was going to be upset. This is what happens when “ships” enter a show’s equation.
Interesting… after many years of watching Hallmark at Christmas, we walked away from it this past year as well. Michelle actually invented Countdown to Christmas, so I’m wondering where she’s headed? Perhaps I’ll start watching that channel instead?
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Thanks for checking out my blog, Cliff! I’m guessing Michelle went to GAC Family, a newer channel that launched on September 27th. I know Bill Abbott, the former CEO of Hallmark’s entertainment division, is now the CEO of GAC (also known as Great American Country). From what I’ve heard, the programming on this channel is emphasizing “family-friendly” values.
Hallmark was doing everything right for many years. Their market slowly changed and evolved. All of a sudden, the company with the right message was no longer in sync with the audience. They must do three things to return to profitability. First, control costs by changing their approach to production. They need to establish a physical production division in house to drastically cut costs of series, specials,. movies, and development. The other two things I will discuss in their offices,,,
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Thanks for visiting 18 Cinema Lane, Neil! While Hallmark is a large company with various divisions, I refer to the entertainment division in my editorial. As I speculate in my article, I think the company may be losing money. The viewership numbers for their ‘Countdown to Christmas’ line-up were lower than in previous years. Less viewers equal less sponsorship opportunities. Really curious to see if more signs of money loss are present this year.
It is so sad that Hallmark didn’t value such an amazing talent as Michelle Vicary. I am hoping she will follow Candice and Danica McKellar to their new channel.
I just started watching it and love it. Hallmark has all this new actors who have no personality and cannot compare at all with the amazing stars who left.
I will not watch Hallmark again. Lost all respect for the company that made such a poor judgement in letting go Michelle Vicary who was instrumental in giving us beautiful Xmas movies and letting go of Candice, Danica, Cameron, Jill Vagner and more of our favorite actors
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Thanks for visiting 18 Cinema Lane, Zeljka! I don’t know where Michelle’s career has led her. But it would be nice to see her reunite with Bill and the rest of the former faces of Hallmark! I’ve only seen a few of Hallmark’s newer films. While some of them have been good, other films have ranged from fine to ok to terrible.