Hallmark Channel, once known for its sentimental and family-friendly movies, has announced it is making it a "big priority" in the coming year to increase the number of LGBT characters and plotlines it features in its films.
Wonya Lucas, the president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, said Thursday that she thinks the progress the cable channel is making in terms of expanding that kind of "diversity" is "nothing short of seismic."
"We will continue to strive to defy common stereotypes and give our characters more depth and dimension; in short, to more broadly represent the human condition," Lucas said. "And what a difference a year makes. But believe me, we know there is so much more good work yet to be done."
The "difference" Lucas is likely referencing involves the company's profound shift on LGBT programming. In 2019, Hallmark faced the wrath of the LGBT lobby when it decided to remove gay and lesbian wedding ads from its platform in an effort to cater to their predominantly conservative demographic.
The pressure provoked the network to reinstate the ads and move quickly to embrace gay-centric storylines and characters.
Michelle Vicary, a Hallmark Channel executive, said the network is making it a "big priority" in 2021 to continue its progress in pushing LGBT themes.
"I think that in terms of our casting for our entire productions, whether they're leads or whether they are secondary leads, we will continue to make sure that people are represented authentically and in the proper way," Vicary said.