In a surprise move, Crown Media, which owns the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Cards, announced that veteran media maven Wonya Lucas will be the new CEO and President of its Hallmark Networks division.
This has been a year of flux for the media company that is known for its mainly white romance movies set in suburban America (but filmed in Canada). The channel received a lot of flak for its initial rejection of a Zola ad featuring a lesbian couple, as well as its Hanukah movies last year that were essentially Christmas movies with Jewish food and song. In addition, one of its stars, Lori Laughlin, was charged in the college admission bribery scandal that rocked the country before COVID closed just about everything down.
So they needed a new image and new direction.
We think Woyna Lucas might be just what they ordered.
According to the Hallmark announcement, Lewis will be responsible for the strategic direction, day-to-day management and successful growth of the three linear networks (Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama), its digital platforms as well as the company’s subscription streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now.
“Wonya is a brand builder at her core who shares Hallmark’s beliefs and values. She has a deep understanding of the role our brand plays in fulfilling a bigger purpose in people’s lives,” said company CEO Mike Perry. “After a thorough search process, we found a remarkable leader with proven general management skills, as well as a track record of success in driving business results and evolving the positioning and programming of a brand. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Wonya to the Hallmark family.”
“Hallmark has been central to my life since I can remember, starting with those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies that were as enriching as they were entertaining,” Lucas said. “In some ways, my entire career has led me to this incredible opportunity to use the breadth of my experience and skills to evolve an iconic and beloved brand, a culture and a business. I am honored to link arms with the multi-talented leaders and their teams at Crown to build toward an exciting future.”
Lucas’ track record and media knowledge is astounding. She is currently on the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors and is the former vice chair of the national NPR board. In addition she has worked in every media platform from PBS, TNT, The Weather Channel, Discovery Channel, NPR, Warner Media and CNN.
We are soooo excited!