Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Q: I am wondering why Hallmark Channel’s original shows such as “When Calls the Heart” aren’t repeated as often as their original movies?
A: Hallmark takes an innovative approach to its back-catalog of programming, which makes some sense since its catalog is unlike anyone else’s.
Programming-wise, Hallmark is very much a movie producer. It’s been making two-hour heartwarmers since way back in the days of the four-channel TV universe.
Now that those days are gone, though, Hallmark is making bold moves in today’s infinite-channel cable universe. That includes producing TV shows as well as movies.
However — and this is where it differs from most TV producers — Hallmark’s catalog is still made up of mostly movies, and so, to finally answer your question, it’s treating the shows as being more valuable, because they’re more rare.
Bill Abbott, CEO of Hallmark Channel’s parent company, has said that repeating the shows less often has driven up their value. And he plans to capitalize on that value online.
“Now we’re sitting in a position where we have quite a bit of content that can’t be seen anywhere else that we can take and go over the top with,” he said in an interview with Broadcasting and Cable magazine. (“Over the top” is an inside-industry term for non-TV broadcasts, most notably web streaming.)
He pointed out that, in fact, reruns of many of its shows don’t pull in very strong TV ratings, despite having large fan bases — he offered the series “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” as an example. The theory is that they’ll do better online.
If this seems like yet another predictable move away from traditional TV, Abbott would like to remind you that Hallmark just launched yet another TV channel — Hallmark Drama — last year. That, he said, is proof of a commitment to the traditional model.
“We don’t think the linear television business is going away any time soon,” he said, using yet another insider term.
Q: Over the years, including this year, Scott Caan is seen “injured” in many different episodes of “Hawaii Five-0.” I’ve seen him on crutches, in a knee brace and this year in a severe elbow brace. Is Scott really clumsy and has injured himself that many times offscreen and they just have to write it into the script?
A: He might take issue with “clumsy,” but essentially you’re right.
Actor Scott Caan is in fact a multi-sport athlete and suffers the frequent bumps and bruises — and torn anterior cruciate ligaments — that come with that.
It was a ligament injury that put him on crutches and a knee brace in the first season way back in 2010. At first it was reported that he hurt it performing a stunt on set, but he later admitted that his opponent tore it for him in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu match.
In the most recent season, his character was wearing an arm brace at one point. A CBS publicist explained to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Rob Owen that “Mr. Caan hurt his arm in real life while not working on the series.”
There’s not a lot of detail in that last answer, but on top of martial arts, Caan is also an avid surfer (unlike his “Five-0” character) and bodybuilder, both of which can be hard on the body.
CBS and the “Five-0” writers are being good sports about it, if you’ll pardon the pun. As you say, they’ve written his various off-set injuries into the scripts. For example, they addressed his first-season knee injury by giving Caan’s character, Danny, a trip to the doctor, which he used as an opportunity to complain about his new partner, Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin).