Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hallmark Channel—We All Need Feel-Good Stories

I’ve always been a sucker for romantic movies with happy endings.  That’s why I periodically check out the Hallmark Channel to find a movie I can record, where I can relax because I know the guy will get the girl (or vice-versa). Whether it's Valentine's Day lovers or June brides, all obstacles can be surmounted. 

And don’t let me forget the Christmas season, when every night is filled with movies about the Christmas spirit and family and love—with a guarantee that good will prevail. Christmas will not be ruined by the evil developer or greedy mayor or nasty landlord, and the romantic leads will declare their love just as the snow begins to fall or the Christmas lights come on. What more can you want?

I’ve just discovered that I’m not alone. According to an article in the Washington Post, ratings are going up for the Hallmark Channel—significantly. Here’s what the article said,

“It’s feel-good TV. . . The main characters do the right thing. The problems get worked out.  The guy and girl, whatever their age or grumpiness level at the start, always end up together. This kind of TV has always drawn in older women, but Hallmark’s appeal isn’t limited to them anymore. Ratings are growing fast among 18-49-year-old women, and a growing number of men are tuning in as well.”

The question is, why? Some culture magazines say it’s because the movies are better made with better acting, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Post quotes Bill Abbott, Chief Executive of Crown Media, which owns Hallmark Channel. Abbott says that with so much divisiveness and hostility today in both families and the news, “We are a place you can go to feel good.”

There’s good reason to believe he’s right. According to the Post article, ratings were rising for years, but started going up dramatically in 2015, when the election season started. The week of the election, Hallmark was actually number four in primetime viewership!  During last year’s Christmas season, they averaged 1.1 million viewers during prime time. With the constant turmoil in our country and the world, they’ll probably do even better this year.

Yes, sometimes we need to sit down with a glass of wine or bowl of ice cream (or both?) and escape to a happier world. Like a vacation day, it recharges us. So . . . how many days until the Christmas movies begin?