How Hallmark launched one of the most popular Halloween movie franchises in the world

How Hallmark launched one of the most popular Halloween movie franchises in the world

Hallmark may be well known for its Christmas movies but the company has also has one of the most popular Halloween movie franchises on TV. In 2008 the company released a movie called The Good Witch. Starring British actress Catherine Bell, the film told the story of a mysterious woman who moved to a small town to live in an old mansion that locals believed was haunted.

Though the townspeople were wary of the newcomer at first, eventually her kindness and generosity won them over. The movie was so popular with fans that the network made 12 in the series and even launched a TV show based on the characters.

Halloween movie

Rod Spence is the creator of the Good Witch characters. In an interview on the Keep Heartland Strong YouTube channel, he talked about how he came to work for Hallmark.

In 2004, he was trying to sell action-movie screenplays when his agent suggested he take a phone meeting with a Hallmark executive. She told Spence that the network liked to do holiday-themed movies but that they always struggled with Halloween.

“I said, ‘Well let me take a shot at that, let me see what I can come up with,’” Spence said. “So I hung up the phone and an amazing thing happened. Within 45 minutes I had the I had the basic idea for The Good Witch.”

Though he finished the script that year, it took another three years before Hallmark brought it to life on the small screen.

“I kind of think this was divine timing that it just laid there for three years until Catherine Bell came along,” he said. “She was absolutely Cassie Nightingale from day one.”

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Spence said he believes the character of Cassie Nightingale was responsible for much of the franchise’s popularity.

“The key to Cassie’s character for me, and what made her so unique and successful is very simple: She’s a woman that no matter who comes to her or what situation comes to her she always responds with unconditional love,” Spence said. “That’s the whole key and that’s what makes her so unique. And you can do so much with that.”

The TV series

The films proved so popular that in 2015 Hallmark launched a TV series based on the characters. The show ran for seven seasons until Hallmark abruptly cancelled it in 2021. Goodies have been trying to get the show back on the air ever since.

Though Spence doesn’t believe the series will come back, he said it’s likely that Hallmark will make a movie featuring Cassie Nightingale and her family, he said. Spence even volunteered to write the script.

“If Hallmark needs a writer for the next Good Witch movie, give me a call!” he said. “I would certainly love to do that.”

For a complete list of the Good Witch movies, click here.

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