(March 14, 2012 – Burbank, CA) – Hallmark Channel is proud to announce it has acquired the popular comedy series, “The Middle” as the newest member in its programming family and will begin airing the first 88 episodes beginning March 2014. Additional seasons will join the rotation as they become available. The first-run, off-network comedy is a perfect fit in Hallmark Channel’s line-up of family-friendly programming. “The Middle” joins ranks with such modern-day classics as “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier,” which are already tremendous ratings successes for Hallmark Channel. “‘The Middle’ is a highly-rated, first-run, off-network family comedy that compliments and diversifies the dynamic comedy block we currently have on our air,” said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. “‘The Middle’ is a gem of a sitcom and adds a contemporary family comedy mix to our classic sitcoms, ‘Frasier’ and ‘The Golden Girls,’ Ms. Vicary concluded. “We are pleased to partner with Hallmark Channel as they expand their off-net comedy strategy by acquiring a new, first-cycle comedy to compliment their block of sitcoms. ‘The Middle' has been a strong performer on broadcast and continues to grow year in and year out. We look for it to be a great fit for Hallmark Channel,” said Ken Werner, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. In “The Middle,” Frankie Heck and her husband, Mike, have lived in Orson, Indiana, their whole lives. A man of few words, Mike is a manager at the town quarry and Frankie is the third-best used car salesman (out of the three) at the local dealership. She may not be a high- powered career woman, but when it comes to her family, she’ll go to any length. And with kids like Axl, Sue and Brick, she had better. Sometimes it seems like everyone is trying to get to the top, or struggling not to fall to the bottom, but Frankie and her family find a lot of love, and a lot of laughs, somewhere in “The Middle.” Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 87 million subscribers. The top-tier program service is distributed through approximately 5,500 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel is the nation’s leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television’s most beloved sitcoms and series, including “The Golden Girls,” “Frasier,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “The Waltons.” The channel is also home to “The Martha Stewart Show” and other lifestyle content. Hallmark Channel's sibling network is Hallmark Movie Channel, also available in HD and SD, which focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of classic theatrical films, presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library, original Hallmark Channel movies and special events.