Wonia Lucas, who was appointed President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks six months ago amid controversy, wasted no time addressing the cloud that has been hanging in the hallmark cable networks for years.
“Before my arrival, we started expanding our branding coverage in front of and behind the camera,” the second said in her opening remarks. “I am proud of the progress this team is making to expand the diversity in our programs which is nothing short of seismic. The significant achievements in D&I in 2020 laid the foundation for us to expand our storytelling to approach the complexity of what it means to love and be a family in a way. More authentic, diverse, and holistic. We will continue to strive to challenge common stereotypes and give our characters more depth and dimension; in short, to represent the human condition on a larger scale. What a difference it makes every year, but believe me; we know there is a lot of good work to be done. “.
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Lucas took over the role previously played by Bill Abbott, who resigned in January 2020 after the Hallmark Channel’s controversial treatment of an ad offering to kiss same-sex spouses. Longstanding criticisms have culminated in Hallmark’s films’ lack of ethnic, sexual and religious diversity.
Lucas and Michelle Vickari, Executive Vice President, Programming, Crown Media Family Networks, faced more – and some doubts – from critics during the company’s TCA executive session.
When asked for specific examples of positive changes in acting on screen, Vickari pointed out Christmas House From this past holiday season, a multi-generational story about a married couple (The Williams and Sharon Lawrence Therapy) with two adult sons, one of whom is married to the same sex. “ And what I’m really excited about is our first gay leader coming out this weekend Mingled in the MediterraneanStarring Jeremy Jordan.
Lucas mentioned the movie Christmas comes twice, Centered around a strong bi-ethnic woman who is a scientist.
Vicary added, “It was a big priority for us not just to show diversity but to show different kinds of diversity, so we were really happy that there were pairs of different races. I would say probably 25% of our films had diversity, and it wasn’t that number that we were We were trying to get to him. It was just a matter of how to find the best actors and the best actors for each of those roles, and I think the development team and Senior Vice President Benny Perry did a great job. “
Vicary also listed Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Holly and Ivy The story of a woman with two children who grew up in the foster care system and facing a serious illness. “What I love about this story is the fact that our stories are really full of liveliness and happiness, and this is real life. I think just taking people on a different emotional journey is really what you will watch the most. Another thing I would like to add is that the music that we have in our movies is also evolving. From the kind of expected rhythm of music, to just having more variety in music. This, to me, is a central character in any movie. And we also have a sense of humor. I think you see a lot of humor. You see a lot of humor in our movies and you will continue to see depth. And emotional breadth more than we did in the past. “
Lucas did not address the fallout from the controversy surrounding Hallmark’s same-sex declaration. “All I can talk to is where we are today.” “I just turned up six months ago and seeing the work that the team has done and really embarked on, it made me feel really proud.” What I see, moving forward – and I can talk about myself – is We’ll keep counting on that and you’ll see more of that. We welcome all advertisers who have been supportive of us, our team has been supportive of us, and our parent company is incredibly supportive. So this is where we are. “