Hallmark embarks on Mystery Cruise

Hallmark Channel in the US is ramping up its original drama slate after ordering a new TV movie that will double as a backdoor pilot for a new primetime series.

Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel

The Mystery Cruise, which has begun production in Vancouver, will star Gail O’Grady and Michelle Harrison as two best friends and unlikely business partners who team up to solve crimes.

The two-hour backdoor pilot is based on the book The Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark and is due to premiere on Hallmark Channel on October 19.

It will also air in 2014 should the pilot be ordered to series.

The Mystery Cruise is produced by Entertainment One with executive producers Howard Burkons, Brenda Friend, Ira Pincus and John Morayniss. Burkons also wrote the script.

Entertainment One also holds international distribution rights.

Cable channel Hallmark’s first two original dramas were also adaptations of novels – When The Heart Calls and Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove.

Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove

Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove

Source: Crown Media