As former Hallmark exec Bill Abbott builds his new network, Crown Media Family Networks has announced new hires from Netflix and ABC Television.
The company that produces programming for Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama has appointed Lisa Hamilton Daly as executive vice president of programming. Hamilton previously worked for Netflix, where she helped develop and produce series including Virgin River, Sweet Magnolia, and Firefly Lane.
Crown Media has also hired Megan Barbe for the role of vice president of consumer insights. Most recently, Barbe was vice president of research and consumer insights at Freeform, a cable network created by ABC Family Worldwide, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television.
The new hires will be responsible for identifying and producing consumer-driven content, according to the company.
Hallmark has new competition
The announcement comes just as GAC Media, the company launched by former Crown Media Family Networks head Bill Abbott released details about four new movies that will be released by the end of the year. The family-friendly movies, three of which are Christmas-themed, will feature actors who have traditionally performed in Hallmark films.
Chad Michael Murray and Jessica Lowndes will appear in the GAC Family network’s first movie, An Autumn Romance, which will debut on October 23. Jen Lilley, another Hallmark favorite, is currently filming Royally Wrapped Christmas for GAC Family in Canada.
The network will officially launch programming on September 27.
New hires at Hallmark
As executive vice president of programming, Lisa Hamilton Daly will help to find and create content for the Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, as well as the company’s subscription video service, Hallmark Movies Now, and its transactional video-on-demand platform, Hallmark Movies & More.
In a press release, the company said Hamilton will be responsible for “building on Crown Media’s programming strategy and diversifying the voice and breadth of the company’s talent pool, both in front of and behind the camera.”
She will report to CEO Wonya Lucas.
In a statement, Lucas said, “Lisa has incredible creative instincts and a proven track record in producing beloved, compelling content that stands the test of time – making her the perfect person to lead the charge as we evolve our programming strategy and expand the kinds of stories we tell. I eagerly look forward to her putting her talent and insights to work for our various channels and services and am confident our viewers will love what she brings to the table.”
Megan Barbe will lead a team of researchers that serve as the “voice of the consumer,” and oversee projects related to analyzing behavioral data and integrating what they find in the company’s productions.
“Megan joins the company with extensive consumer insight and research experience, and we are confident that her strong background and skill set will be instrumental to our continued success,” said Robin Thomas, executive vice president of consumer insights, strategy, and analytics. “Her understanding of consumer behavior and the impact those behaviors have on the changing television landscape will help us develop new strategies to elevate our brand.”
Barbe previously held positions at Freeform, ABC Television, Paramount Pictures, and Twentieth Television.