By Ginny McCabe/ Assist News On May 17, 2014
A brand new original primetime television series, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” has already earned a stamp of approval from millions of viewers across the country. With such an immediate, overwhelming success, it’s no surprise that two of TV’s most well respected brands in entertainment are behind the highly-anticipated series – Hallmark Channel and Martha Williamson.
With a nationwide audience of 86 million subscribers, Hallmark Channel is the nation’s leading destination for quality family programming. The channel is best known for its television movies and original scripted series, including Cedar Cove and When Calls the Heart; specials such as Kitten Bowl; as well as some of television’s most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, andFrasier. The channel is also home to the Daytime Emmy-nominated lifestyle program,Home & Family.
“We are making history at Hallmark Channel by joining forces with Martha Williamson, one of TV’s great storytellers, as she returns to television making the kind of series we know tens of millions of viewers are yearning for,” said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president, programming, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. “This marks a significant milestone in our growth into scripted programming, and we couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to work with the very gifted and talented Martha Williamson, who brings her trusted name in family entertainment to our network.”
Recognized for the phenomenon she created as the executive producer of the CBS series “Touched By An Angel,” the heartwarming series marks Williamson’s return to television as well as her return to the Sunday evening time slot held by “Touched By An Angel” during its top-ten run.
Williamson, head writer and executive producer, made television history of her own when “Touched By An Angel” set a new standard for an inspirational family drama and attracted an audience of more than 25 million viewers during its initial nine-year run. Williamson went on to become the first woman to solely executive produce two, one hours simultaneously with “Promised Land,” which aired on CBS for three years.
Her work has been inducted into the Television and Radio Hall of Fame and honored with numerous awards and accolades, including the Edward R. Murray Responsibility in Television Award and the Templeton Prize Epiphany Award, along with nine Emmy® nominations.
“I believe what has prepared me for a show like this is 30-plus years in show business, starting out in variety, going through sitcoms and doing drama. My background is in musical variety. From the very beginning, you’ll notice we have a lot of music on our show,” said Martha Williamson.
“Nine years of doing ‘Touched By An Angel’ certainly helped me. My own intentions for the show were to encourage and inspire, but I also came from a background in sitcoms, having done shows such as ‘The Facts of Life,’ so, I was always looking forward to a time when I could combine the two, and still provide families with a values-based show, and I think it has all finally come together in ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered,'” she said.
With “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Williamson brings her signature brand of creative storytelling to the screen. As creator and executive producer, she and her team effectively combine comedy, drama and romance with this new series that follows four unconventional postal workers, as they track down the intended recipients of undeliverable mail. Their life-changing mission offers inspiring, hopeful messages to viewers with ten, one-hour episodes that follow the workers from a dead-letter office into people’s lives, where redirected letters and packages can solve crimes, reunite loved ones and transform futures.
“I think the best work any writer can do is when they write from their own personal experience, and try to make it accessible to a larger audience. I’ve lived a wonderful life, met a lot of incredible people, experienced a lot of pain and a great deal of joy. Practically everything that I have experienced has one way or another found its way into a script that I’ve written,” Williamson said.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” stars Eric Mabius as Oliver O’Toole (“Ugly Betty,”) Kristin Booth as Shane McInerney (“The Kennedys,”) Crystal Lowe in the role of Rita Haywith (“Smallville,”) and Geoff Gustafson as Norman Dorman (“Primeval: New World.”)
In the opening episode, “Time to Start Livin'” Oliver wants to investigate a letter from ten-year-old boy, addressed to “Gramma,” which notifies his grandmother that he is sneaking out of his house to ride all night, until he gets to her. Meanwhile, Shane, Rita and Norman prepare for a new supervisor, the legendary Theresa Capodiamonte (played by Valerie Harper,) who challenges the workers to take greater risks with their deliveries. Ultimately, the team discovers that the boy’s life is in danger, which makes them even more determined to find the intended recipient of his letter.
Throughout the series, the primary cast will be joined by special guest-stars, including Harper, Della Reese, Dick Van Dyke, Valerie Bertinelli and Marilu Henner, to name a few. Additionally, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Carol Burnett will star in the show’s must-see Season One Finale as Norman’s grandmother.
“Carol is an American legend who has used words to bring joy and laughter, to encourage, inspire and heal us through nearly six decades of life,” said Williamson. “It’s my privilege to welcome my hero and mentor to the show.”
With her notable humor and warmth, Burnett’s career-defining work on CBS’s popular comedic variety hour, “The Carol Burnett Show,” made her a television sensation and earned her the distinction of being one of America’s most admired women in entertainment. Burnett has also recently made guest appearances on “Hawaii 5-0”, “Hot in Cleveland,” “Glee” and her Emmy®-nominated role on “Law and Order: SVU,” and has written three New York Times bestselling books, including her latest release, Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” airs on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. Central and will run for ten consecutive weeks. The all-new series premiered on Easter Sunday, April 20 and is scheduled to air through late June. To find out more about the exciting new series, go to http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/signedsealeddelivered.