Hallmark in programming push; appoints acquisitions head

The Hallmark Channel is making a thrust into expanding its programming library. The network has appointed Kirstine Layfield to the newly-created position of senior vice president, programming. Layfield joins the Hallmark Channel from the Toronto-based cable and satellite channel Trio Television, where for the last four years she served as its general manager and vice president of programming. The announcement was made today by Russ Givens, president and chief executive officer of Crown Media International. 

Layfield's prime responsibility will be to strategically identify and acquire top programming on an international basis for the Hallmark Channel. She will be based in the Hallmark Channel's Denver headquarters, will report directly to Givens and work closely with the managing directors of the Hallmark Channel's Asian, European and Latin American and operations on program acquisitions.

Givens also disclosed that the Hallmark Channel has acquired a number of high-profile series for many of its territories to further diversify its lineups worldwide. The award-winning family drama Touched by an Angel, with Roma Downey and Della Reese, has been acquired for the Hallmark Channel's Asia channels while producer Steven Bochco's police series Brooklyn South has been acquired to air on the Hallmark Channel in Spain, Portugal, Israel, Russia, the Middle East and Asia. 

In Israel, Russia and the Middle East, the channel's subscribers will be able to watch the Gerald McRaney dramaPromised Land, which has also been acquired to air in Australia. For its Spain and Portugal feeds, the Hallmark Channel has acquired the new critically acclaimed drama Judging Amy, starring Amy Brenneman and Tyne Daly, and City of Angels, the medical drama featuring Blair Underwood and Michael Warren. 

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