Digital
Transformation
Festival


16 March - 30 April 2020

Our online festival is underway with a packed programme of interviews and panels. Featuring talks from the industry’s biggest brands and most innovative individuals, this event explores what digital transformation really means for marketing.

Coming Up
30 Mar 10:00 GMT / 06:00 EST

In conversation with Publicis Sapient global CEO, Nigel Vaz

FEATURING

Speakers to be announced

Hallmark’s Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott exits following same-sex ad controversy

In a statement confirming the news, parent firm Hallmark Cards didn't mention the recent press storm surrounding Abbott

Bill Abbott, chief executive of the Hallmark Channel's parent company Crown Family Networks, is to exit the business following on from a controversy over the company's handling of an ad featuring a same-sex couple.​

In a statement confirming the news, parent firm Hallmark Cards didn't mention the recent press storm surrounding Abbott. However, it's reported to have prompted the departure of the longtime executive.

“After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president and chief executive of Crown Media is leaving the company,” said Mike Perry, president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards.

“I want to thank Bill for his many years of success and contributions to Crown Media and wish him continued success."

“In a time when there is immense competition among television networks and streaming services, it is more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business and continue to produce high-quality programming that resonates with our growing audience.”

A new boss has yet to be named, but it's understood Perry will personally lead the search for a replacement.

In December 2019, the network — best known for its holiday and romance movies — was forced to U-turn on a decision to pull an ad that showed a lesbian couple getting married.

The spot (below) promoted the wedding planning tool Zola and drew complaints from a right-wing Christian group called One Million Moms who claimed it had spoken directly with Abbott. Following a backlash, the ad was reinstated.

Crown Family Networks is controlled by Hallmark Cards and operates three entertainment brands: Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama, in addition to a video-on-demand service and e-book publishing division.

The flagship Hallmark Channel drew 1.7m primetime viewers between 16-22 December according to Nielsen Research.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.