Word on the Street: Executive Leader, Michelle Vicary, Walks Away from Hallmark

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”.

Illustration of woman quitting her job created by stories at freepik.com. Office vector created by stories – www.freepik.com

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!

Sally Silverscreen

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

https://tvline.com/2021/03/23/home-and-family-cancelled-hallmark-channel-ending-final-episodes/

Word on the Street: CEO of Disney+ to Step Down, Potential Hallmark Films in the Works

In a recent video, Kneon and Geeky Sparkles, from Clownfish TV, reported the news that Kevin Mayer will be stepping down as the CEO of Disney+. While no reason for this decision was provided, it should be noted that Kevin will now be the Chief Executive of the musical app, Tik Tok. He will also be the Chief Operating Officer of the company that owns Tik Tok, ByteDance. To fill his position at Disney, Rebecca Campbell has now been named Chairman of Disney’s Direct-To-Consumer and International, the role that allows her to oversee Disney+. Despite being the former President of Disneyland, she does have experience working with Disney’s streaming service. According to Geeky Sparkles, “she set up Disney+ overseas, she was key in that”. Ken Potrock will now be the President of Disneyland and Kareem Daniel will take Ken’s place as President of Consumer Products. Currently, it’s unknown who will take Kareem’s position as President of Walt Disney Imagineering/Operations/Product Creation/Publishing/Games. Also, Josh D’Amaro is the new Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, the position Bob Chapek left behind when he became Disney’s CEO. Since Josh is giving up his title as President of Walt Disney World in order to take this new position, Jeff Vahle will take his place. Taking Jeff’s place as President of Disney Signature Experiences is now Thomas Mazloum. Through this confusing domino effect, both Kneon and Geeky bring up concerns that I couldn’t agree with more. Kneon thinks these new leadership choices are a bad idea because he sees it as history repeating itself. He brings up how the President of Disney Parks West, Catherine Powell, was let go by Disney last September. Geeky asks, “is any of these changes going to equate to actually, you know, better changes in the parks and better changes, you know, in the Disney company in general or are we just going to get the same old shit, different day”? Kneon responds by saying “Nobody’s in their position long enough to make any kind of a difference”. At this point, it’s difficult to tell how these leadership changes will affect Disney’s outcome. However, I do agree with Kneon’s point. To bring up one example, Bob Chapek has been the CEO for less than six months. But, from my perspective, I find it challenging to think of anything significant he’s done in his new position.

Here are the sources featured in this story:

Type “Disney Plus Boss JUMPS SHIP for TikTok! Disney Leadership PANIC Shuffle?!” into Youtube search bar or visit Clownfish TV’s official Youtube channel (there is some language in this video)

Disney’s Kevin Mayer Is Leaving To Become CEO of Tik Tok, Rebecca Campbell Will Replace Him

Josh D’Amaro Named New Chairman Of Disney Parks, Experiences And Products

New Presidents Named for Walt Disney World and Disneyland

Disney Eliminates Catherine Powell, President of Disney Parks West

Vector collection of business people
Employee leaving job image created by rawpixel.com at freepik.com. https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com. Image found at freepik.com.

Trevor Donovan, an actor from Hallmark, appeared as a guest on a recent episode of the Deck The Hallmark podcast. While on the episode, he shared two projects that are currently in the works, but are not completed due to the Coronavirus. The first one was described as an “indie film/Hallmark acquisition that will be shooting in Hawaii”. For the second project, Trevor says it will “hopefully be able to parlay that right into a Hallmark movie in Hawaii after that, so two back to back”. None of these projects are confirmed as belonging to Hallmark, as of May 2020. However, it was indicated in the interview that the potential is there. As far as I know, Hallmark has never filmed a movie or had a movie take place in the Aloha State before. This would introduce their audience to a newer landscape than is not usually showcased. While the plot for both projects is currently unknown, I hope one of these is a Christmas film. Hallmark has never created a Christmas movie that takes in Hawaii. Also, it would be nice to hear Trevor sing Mele Kalikimaka.

Here is the link to the Deck the Hallmark podcast:

https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/deckthehallmark?selected=ADV1983617669 (the episode is titled “Trevor Donovan”)

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What are your thoughts on these pieces of movie news? Do you have any thoughts about what Trevor’s upcoming movies could be about? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: President of Crown Media, Bill Abbott, leaving Hallmark

As I am trying to stick with my blogging schedule, I’ve been looking for movie news stories that aren’t Hallmark related. That’s because I want to show my readers and followers that 18 Cinema Lane is not limited to one area of film. However, this story was too big to pass up. This week, Bill Abbott, one of the business leaders of Hallmark, stepped down from his presidential and CEO position. An explanation for Bill’s departure or a new leader of the company was not revealed as of late January 2020. In response to this latest news, Hallmark Cards’ president and CEO, Mike Perry, stated, “In a time when there is immense competition among television networks and streaming services, it is more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business and continue to produce high quality programming that resonates with our growing audience”.

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Employee leaving job image created by rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Multiple news outlets have covered this story and have tried connecting it to the commercial controversy that happened last December. However, in my opinion, I’m guessing this recent situation has more factors to it than that. Last year, both the “Miracles of Christmas” and “Countdown to Christmas” line-ups collectively received lower viewership numbers than the previous year. Most of Hallmark Channel’s movies adopt repetitive story-telling, giving projects a sense of predictability. In 2019, Hallmark experienced several scheduling snafus, which I talked about in an editorial last October. Despite the uncertainty this decision has caused, I’m personally hoping the man or woman to take Bill’s Abbott’s place not only puts the best interests of the customers and fans first when it comes to making business decisions, but also takes creative risks and thinks outside the box. It’s unclear how Mike Perry and the overall Hallmark company define “relevant new ways”, but I’m guessing these definitions will be presented to viewers in a matter of time.

 

What are your thoughts on this latest news? How do you think this will affect Hallmark’s entertainment projects? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Here are the links to two of the many articles discussing this story, as well as the editorial I referenced in this Word on the Street post:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/hallmark-exec-bill-abbott-1272125

https://www.streetinsider.com/dr/news.php?id=16360467

When Hallmark Made Their Fans Really Upset