THE BLOG
02/01/2013 02:24 pm ET Updated Apr 03, 2013

Comfort Programming on a Cold Winter Night

Every family develops its own traditions in ways that cannot be explained but somehow make sense in the bigger picture of who the family is or, perhaps more appropriately, what the family aspires to be. While we have little control over the direction our families take when we are the little ones, we have full responsibility for making that decision for others when we become the parents. In so doing, we (hopefully) opt to eliminate the negative emotional baggage from our own childhoods and focus on building the positive memories that our children will want to carry on when they assume the role of parents themselves.

The Hallmark Hall of Fame is one of those things that has always been and will always remain a constant in my life. What began in my childhood, when my Grampa would let me curl up with him in "the big chair" and watch wrapped up in his arms, extended through my college years when I moved to the next county and into my young adult years when I'd moved thousands of miles away. But no matter how far away from him I was, the mere act of curling up in a comfy chair in my jammies with a cup of hot cocoa and the latest rendition of the Hallmark Hall of Fame gave me the same feeling of warmth and security that I'd felt sitting in the big chair with my Grampa when I was a little girl. When I married and became a mother, my children curled up on the sectional with my husband and me, watching the same moving stories with exceptional production values.

Over the years, Hallmark has shifted its relationship back and forth -- playing the field so to speak -- among numerous networks. Yet, the quality of their programming has never wavered. This Sunday's installment continues that tradition. The Makeover stars Julia Stiles in a romantic comedy that nibbles at the heels of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Two young people who are as different as they can be wind up working together toward different goals for completely personal reasons that turn out to be mutually exclusive. As a professional makeover of one segues into a personal makeover of the other, we witness a demonstration of the theory that opposites attract.

It is interesting to note that Hallmark may be making a subtle shift in their programming decisions. Recent presentations have suggested a decided effort to reach a younger audience. The Makeover will definitely appeal to young Gen-Y millennials without forsaking the older audiences for whom the Hallmark Hall of Fame signifies a reliable standard of entertainment. Hallmark achieves their success by telling simple stories of likable people you'd be happy to live next door to. There is an inciting incident -- something interesting happens to them -- and we follow them through a series of crises and conflicts until they reach a resolution where all's well that ends well. Clearly, there is an audience for this kind of entertainment -- especially in a programming landscape where the networks and the cable channels seem hell bent on out-edging each other. As their corporate slogan suggests, they care enough to send the very best -- and so, the Hallmark Hall of Fame endures from generation to generation.

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