Crown Media Family Networks have named a new President and CEO.
Wonya Lucas previously worked as CEO for TV One and will report directly to Hallmark Cards CEO, Mike Perry.
Former CEO, Bill Abbott, left under a dark cloud in January after he came under fire for the decision to remove a commercial featuring a same-sex couple.
While Abbott later apologized for the decision, the family of networks came under fire for their lack of diversity, and as Abbott was at the helm, he paid the price.
Lucas will focus on growing the iconic television brand, whose flagship Hallmark Channel is routinely ranked among the top cable networks.
She’s responsible for the strategic direction, daily management, and growth of the three linear networks—the Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama—as well as the company’s digital platforms and subscription streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now.
“Wonya is a brand builder at her core who shares Hallmark’s beliefs and values. She has a deep understanding of the role our brand plays in fulfilling a bigger purpose in people’s lives,” Perry said.
“After a thorough search process, we found a remarkable leader with proven general management skills, as well as a track record of success in driving business results and evolving the positioning and programming of a brand.
I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Wonya to the Hallmark family.”
“Hallmark has been central to my life since I can remember, starting with those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies that were as enriching as they were entertaining,” Lucas said.
“In some ways, my entire career has led me to this incredible opportunity to use the breadth of my experience and skills to evolve an iconic and beloved brand, a culture, and a business.
“I am honored to link arms with the multi-talented leaders and their teams at Crown to build toward an exciting future.”
It will be very exciting to see what plans she has for Hallmark Drama given her love of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies which proliferate that channel.
It’s been essentially a repository for former dramas the likes of which no current channel within the Crown Media family produces.
But with the talent already available within the Hallmark family and the passion Lucas might infuse, the possibilities seem endless.
Lucas has deep and wide media experience, including leadership positions at Discovery, TNT, and The Weather Channel, among others. Most recently, she was the president and CEO of the NPR and PBS outlets in Atlanta.
We look forward to seeing what Lucas does with her new position.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.