TCA: Hallmark’s ‘Cedar Cove’ Stars Talk Balancing Sex and the Network’s Brand

For a series based on romance novels, how far is too provocative for the cable network?

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 11:46 AM

"Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove" has proven to be a success for Hallmark Channel. The network's first original series premiered to 3.8 million total viewers and a 2.4 rating on Saturday, making it the No. 1 primetime program in its time slot.

It's the kind of news any cable network would love to enter the annual Television Critics Association with. But, how does the series based on romance novels fit the network's family demographic? What role does sex and romance play on the series? And how far can they take it?

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"Obviously, we have to be true to the Hallmark brand," Dylan Neal, who plays Jack, told reporters at TCA in Beverly Hills on Wednesday.

"But, we are telling stories from Debbie's world. So, you're going to have courtship and smooching. The question is always how do we adapt these books so that they're still a part of the Hallmark brand."

Jack is a newspaper reporter with a secretive past who starts a romance with Cedar Cove family judge, Olivia (Andie MacDowell). In a scene played before the TCA crowd, the two are cooking in the kitchen when things move quickly to Jack removing Olivia's apron and the two passionately kissing.

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"Occasionally, we'll have a scene and say something that's slightly more adult, perhaps," MacDowell added. "They've encouraged us to have more fun. We're not sure if it will get in, but we take chances, trying to push the limits to add flavor and some adult behavior."

In the end, MacDowell (known for comedies like "Groundhog Day," as well as provocative films like "Sex, Lies and Videotape") says that "Cedar Cove's" pace is more her style these days.

"I relate very much to this role," she said. "I do feel this is more me, definitely more me than Gray on "Jane By Design." Plus, being on a show where the content is something you can believe in. I get anxious watching TV with murders and rape. I'm just at a time in my life where I want sweetness."