Why the Hallmark Channel can't recover from same-sex ad debacle without alienating audiences

Toronto Star reporter Katie Daubs unpacks how new developments in the Hallmark Channel controversy might affect the TV powerhouse moving forward.
A scene from one of the commercials that the Hallmark Channel removed last month. (Zola)

Over the past decade, the Hallmark Channel has become a hugely popular cable outlet with a lineup of wholesome, holiday-themed, made-for-TV romance movies. At Christmastime, the channel's ratings in the U.S. even outweigh CNN.

This week, Bill Abbott, the head of Hallmark's media business, resigned after the company reversed its decision to pull ads featuring same-sex couples from the wedding company Zola.

The ads included scenes of same sex weddings, including one that showed two women kissing. Hallmark dropped the ads after receiving pressure from a conservative group called One Million Moms, but that led to calls from thousands of people online, including prominent LGBTQ celebrities, to boycott Hallmark in the middle of its popular Christmas movie season.

The controversy has brought new attention to the Hallmark Channel's popularity and to criticisms that it lacks diversity. Toronto Star reporter Katie Daubs has reported extensively on the TV powerhouse and its many Canadian film productions. She joined q guest host Laurie Brown to unpack what the latest development in this story might mean for the future of the Hallmark Channel.

Click the 'Listen' link near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Miss an episode of CBC q? Download our podcast.