Scott D. Pierce: ‘Touched by an Angel’ writer returns to TV

(Courtesy photo) Geoff Gustafson, Crystal Lowe, Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth and Daphne Zuniga star in “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” on the Hallmark Channel.

Oct 10 2013
By Scott D. Pierce   –   The Salt Lake Tribune

The TV movie “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” plays like a throwback to television’s simpler times. A time when TV shows told morality tales and had happy endings.

If this TV movie about the people who work at the U.S. Postal Service dead-letter office and do good deeds feels sort of like the made-in-Utah series “Touched by an Angel,” well, “that’s to be expected,” Martha Williamson said, with a laugh.

She is the writer/executive producer of both shows, although “Signed” was filmed in Vancouver. “Utah will always be a second home to us,” Williamson said.  But after “Angel” was canceled, she pretty much stepped away from the TV business for a decade. (She developed a couple of shows for CBS, but they weren’t picked up.)

She and her husband, Jon Andersen, adopted two daughters; she’s’s been pretty much a stay-at-home mom; and she lost 120 pounds since “Touched” signed off a decade ago.  “We’ve had a great life,” Williamson said. “It’s not like I felt like I had to get back to TV. But I’m excited about this project.”

In “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, Hallmark Channel), Oliver (Eric Mabius, “Ugly Betty”) is the uptight head of the dead-letter office and Kelly (Kristin Booth) is new on the job and shakes things up. They come upon a year-old letter that’s tied to a romance and a murder investigation.

“Signed” is hokey and sweet, just as it’s intended. It’s the sort of G-rated drama that seems a perfect fit for the Hallmark Channel, and it’s a pilot for a potential series.   It’s not “Touched by an Angel,” but it’s definitely in Williamson’s wheelhouse.

“This is not a show about religion, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for prayer,” she said. “I love that Oliver is a man of faith.  “We don’t try to beat anyone over the head with it, it’s just part of the character.”

It also remains part of Williamson’s life. She needed that faith a few weeks ago when she was in Vancouver during the filming of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and her husband suffered a stroke at their family cabin in Colorado.  “I just happened to be on the phone with him at the time,” she said. “That saved his life.”

As Andersen was losing consciousness, Williamson remembered a newsletter that had been sent to owners of cabins in that area of Colorado and sent out a mass SOS to the somewhat distant neighbors.  Within minutes, several people arrived and got Andersen to the hospital.  “They saved him,” Williamson said. “It was miraculous.”

 Her husband is still recovering, but he’s “much better,” she said. “We’ve heard from so many of our friends in Salt Lake City who have expressed concern.

 “They’re still like family to us.”

 Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

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