In a television trend that would seem likely to translate to fiction, The Chicago Tribune reports on a trend towards feel-good television. “The feel-good Hallmark Channel is booming in the age of Trump,” blared the headline of an August 2017 story.
Television series like Chesapeake Shores, based on the books by Sherryl Woods and movies like When Calls the Heart, based on a book by Janette Oke, deliver happy endings.
The main characters do the right thing. The problems get worked out. The guy and girl, whatever their age or grumpiness level at the start, always end up together. This kind of TV has always drawn in older women, but Hallmark’s appeal isn’t limited to them anymore. Ratings are growing fast among 18- to 49-year-old women, and a growing number of men are tuning in as well. Men account for some of the jump in the Nielsen ratings, and when the channel does focus groups, increasing numbers of men say they watch with their wives.
At a time when the 24-hour news cycle holds increasingly frustrating blasts against reality, Hallmark is providing welcome respite.
Turn on the news and you see people who can’t get along, even in the same party. Turn on Hallmark and everyone ends the show smiling. The characters work together to save their town or store or farm.
Hallmark’s ratings have been rising for several years, but it really started surging in late 2015, right about the time the election – and the Trump phenomenon – took off. During the week of the election last year, the Hallmark Channel was the fourth-most watched channel on TV during prime time. Let that sink in. It had more prime-time viewers than MSNBC did, and it was just behind CNN and ESPN.
The full piece is here.