While TCA critics were completely charmed by great grandfather Dick Van Dyke and 90-yr-old Ernest Borgnine (while Valerie Bertinelli looked great, Ernie looked better) at Hallmark Channel’s panel, the ad buyers were charmed by Hallmark’s fundamentals. "Our upfront is more than 90% done and we couldn’t be happier. In fact, we were surprised [at how well we’ve done]," said evp ad sales Bill Abbott. Hallmark’s getting high single/low double digits, he said. He said the channel’s upfront perfect storm comes from strong distribution (83mln HHs), solid ratings, family friendly fare and the net’s strong commercial retention. Another factor is Henry Schleiff, Abbott said. "Henry’s been a huge addition in getting the word out about us with the MSO’s in the ad community and the press."

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