PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- UP, America's favorite channel for uplifting family entertainment, has unveiled an ambitious 2014 programming slate that will build on the momentum of 2013, a year in which the channel rebranded as UP and established new ratings highs among W18-49, W25-54, A18-49 and A25-54. The 2014 slate is headlined by 18 exclusive UP Original Movies, with a promise to viewers that at least one original movie will air every month. UP's movies through June 2014 star a diverse range of top tier talent, including Valerie Harper, Lauren Holly, Cameron Bancroft, Barry Watson, Kellie Martin, Sarah Lancaster, Tom Everett Scott, Kelly McGillis, Scott Thompson, Nicholas Campbell,Lea Thompson, Matreya Fedor and Kimberly Elise.
In addition, the network will debut season two of the UP Original Series "Bulloch Family Ranch" and an all-new season of its popular series, "Heartland" (season five) on Wednesday, February 26, beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
Barbara Fisher, senior vice president, original programming, UP said, "As our 2014 slate demonstrates, we are committed to being a leader in the production of original movies for television as well as a home for compelling original series. The common thread that runs through everything we do is that we present uplifting stories. That's what our brand is all about, and 2014 will be another year of continuing to inspire and uplift our viewers with our biggest and most exciting slate of movies ever, featuring a wide array of stars. We are certain it will be another banner year for UP."
UP Original Movies for the first half of the year will include:
THE TOWN THAT CAME A-COURTIN' - Premieres Sunday, January 19, 7 p.m. EST – Valerie Harper ("Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda"), Lauren Holly ("NCIS," "Motive"), Cameron Bancroft ("24," "Beverly Hills: 90210") and Lucie Guest ("Heath Nutz," "Blackstone") star in this film inspired by an experience that best-selling author and syndicated columnist Ronda Rich had during a book tour. Abby Houston (Holly) is a smart, beautiful, successful author and fiercely independent Southern woman. When we meet her, she is curiously being kept captive in a remote cabin in the woods by an obsessed fan, Walter (Toby Hargrave). Days earlier, Abby and her publicist Jamie (Guest) were visiting the lovely town of Bliss, Mississippi, where B&B owner Charlotte (Harper) and a well-meaning prayer chain have big plans for Abby – as the perfect match for their widowed Mayor Spencer Alexander (Bancroft), a single dad of two. A series of collisions, several bouquets and numerous good words later, Abby relents to having dinner with Spencer and finds a handsome, earnest man. Eagerly encouraged by the entire town, they embark on a whirlwind, public romance. But just as they are about to share a first kiss, Spencer is reminded of his late wife and abruptly pulls back. Hurt and sad, Abby is determined to leave Bliss behind, only to find her obsessed fan waiting. With phones buzzing and the town mobilized, what happens next will determine her future.
FAR FROM HOME - Premieres Sunday, February 9, 7 p.m. EST – In this prodigal son returns drama set in the idyllic San Juan, WA islands, Barry Watson ("7th Heaven," "Gossip Girl") stars as Nicholas Bell, who angrily left home at 22 after a terrible fight with Charley Garrison, the uncle who raised him and owned the local newspaper where Nick started his writing career. Having cut off all contact and gone out on his own, he wrote a wildly successful novel, entitled "Broken Windows," which led critics to declare him the "new voice of his generation." Unfortunately, Nick has been unable to follow it up with any work as meaningful or impactful. So, 15 years later, he has quietly settled into teaching undergraduate writing at a small university. Out of the blue, Nick learns that Uncle Charley has died. Reluctantly, he heads back to Marrow Island for the funeral. His arrival is met by one mishap after another, reminding him of how quirky and insular the little island can be. Diner owner Velma (Barbara Pollard), bookstore owner Irene (Christina Jastrzembska), and enthusiastic young writer Rudy (Eli Goree) are eager to see the island's most famous writer return – as are bank manager Rebecca (Venus Terzo) and land developer Graham Westlake (Paul McGillion). Soon, Nick learns from his honest, forthright and attractive local attorney Libby Wainscott (Stefanie von Pfetten) that some local interest stems from the fact that Charley left him the family's local paper and key property. Eager to divest himself of the newspaper and get back to his teaching post, his new inheritance instead wedges him smack in the middle of a bitter fight over the future of the island – and face-to-face with the real reason behind what sent him so far from home for so long.
DEAR VIOLA - Premieres Sunday, March 16, 7 p.m. EST – Kellie Martin ("ER," "Life Goes On) stars in this advice column romance set in a charming seaside village. When the writer of a local, obsessively-read, beloved advice column, entitled "Dear Viola," decides to retire and leave the quaint seaside village of Bellport, seasoned editor Earl Bellamy (Neil Crone) is taken aback. While hoping to keep a lid on this news and his paper going, Earl unexpectedly finds a brand-new "Viola" column on his desk. Earl, his "The Bellport Herald" staffers Brian (Adamo Ruggiero) and Peggy (Sheila McCarthy), and soon the entire town find Viola's new published tone to be refreshing, no-nonsense, funny and wise. An outpouring of mail for Viola floods in. Again, Earl leaves the mail on his desk and another column appears. Using the security camera, Earl discovers the mystery columnist to be none other than Katie Miner (Martin), the shy accountant who has quietly done the books at the paper for years. Katie agrees to continue writing the column as long as her identity can remain secret. Sifting through a mountain of letters, Katie becomes struck by one from a widower, Russ (Jefferson Brown), who calls himself "Mr. Lost Love." Working as a deep sea fisherman with pal Clay Jackson (Arnold Pinnock), Russ can't seem to move past the loss of his wife five years prior and struggles to find the strength to raise his young daughter, Meredith (Kira Gelineau). Firmly, Katie encourages him to reach out to others, begin dating and start living. As they correspond through the column and run into each other (hidden by their pen names), Katie starts to fall for Russ. But when Russ decides to take Viola's advice and start dating the knockout new girl in town, Jamie (Brittany Gray), Katie has to decide if it's really in her best interest to keep her identity and growing feelings secret.
APPLE MORTGAGE CAKE - Premieres Sunday, April 27, 7 p.m. EST – A five-year-old Angela Logan (Millie Davis) is in her grandmother Nellie's (Darlene Cooke) kitchen in Teaneck, New Jersey learning how to make apple cake and discovering the joys of baking. Nellie tells Angela: "Cake makes people happy. One bowl, one mixer, and the right company, and you're set for life." Thirty-five years later, Angela (Kimberly Elise) is a single, working mom with three teenage boys, Marcus (A.J. Saudin), William, (Stephan James) and Nicolas (Lamar Johnson). She juggles various jobs and helps with employment counseling at the local Mission. While thrilled to be in the family home where she learned to bake, the house is falling apart, with sections deemed uninhabitable by inspectors after storm and flood damage. Plus, the car just decided not to start – and the boys all still need shoes, books and food. She has always made due until now – when her lender calls in the mortgage loan and puts her into foreclosure. Angela has 10 days to come up with $4000 or she loses her home. This is the true story of a woman who decides to bake 100 apple cakes and sell them at $40 each in order to save her home – and how this idea completely changes her and her family. As word of her "bake sale" ripples out through neighbors, friends, her church and even old flames, such as Melvin (Kevin Hanchard), the story soon spreads to the news, locally, nationally and internationally. Orders fly in from all over the world. Angela is taken off guard by the overwhelming support. But soon, this fiercely independent woman learns to depend on the kindness and love of others that comes her way, particularly when the community and local businesses rally around Angela to help her finish and ship the initial stack of orders. The real-life inspiration for the film can be found at www.maccakes.com.
MY MOTHER'S FUTURE HUSBAND - Premieres Sunday, May 11, 7 p.m. EST – A mother and widow of five years, Rene Anderson (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future, "Caroline in the City"), has thrown herself into running her cozy bistro with friend, cook and co-owner Lou (Everick Golding) and wrapped her entire social life around being her 15-year old daughter Headly's (Matreya Fedor) BFF. While Headly still grieves the loss of her dad, she's also discovering boys – specifically Bodie Miller (Burkely Duffield), the handsome jock who recently returned to town – and songwriting. Determined to get out of fancy dinners and zumba lessons with mom, Headly sets some secret romantic goals for them both – help Rene find love and get her own first meaningful kiss – before summer arrives. With her astronomy-obsessed best friend Willis (Gig Morton), Headly concocts a variety of schemes to find her mother's "future husband," from interviews in the park for "a Social Studies project" to creating an online profile and video link of Rene talking about herself and looking very pretty. After successfully maneuvering several nice guys into the bistro, sparks seem to fly with windowed dad Andrew (Sebastian Spence), but a misunderstanding threatens to derail Headly's plans. Meanwhile, Headly discovers dating is more challenging than expected. With summer looming, Rene and Headly ultimately find that they must first deal with the past in order to open their hearts to the romantic possibilities in front of them.
LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUGARCREEK, OHIO - Premieres Sunday, June 1, 7 p.m. EST – Filmed on location in Sugarcreek, Ohio's Amish country, this romantic mystery/suspense drama stars Sarah Lancaster ("Chuck," "Everwood"), Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!, "Southland") and Golden Globe®- and BAFTA-nominated actress Kelly McGillis (Witness, Top Gun). Rachel Troyer (Lancaster) is a smart, focused, single policewoman in the quaint town of Sugarcreek, nicknamed "The Little Switzerland of Ohio" and located about an hour south of Akron, in the heart of Amish country. She frequently looks in on her three kindly Amish aunts Bertha (McGillis), Anna (Marianna Alacchi) and Lydia (Annie Kitral), who raised Rachel from girlhood after she was orphaned and are the proprietors of a picturesque, although faded, farmhouse inn. When a mysterious, scruffy stranger, Joe (Scott), shows up on the inn's doorstep with his five-year-old son, Bobby (Thomas Kapanowski), the aunts insist on taking the pair in as a matter of faith and good will. Rachel's police instincts immediately tell her that this seemingly broke outsider is much too refined to be the drifter he presents himself to be. So, while the aunts welcome Joe as a handyman and enjoy having a child around the Sugar Haus Inn again, a wary, suspicious – yet attracted – Rachel becomes determined to uncover his identity. Her digging not only reveals his surprising identity, but the fact that he's run away from his home, his life, and a shocking unsolved murder. Unfortunately, Rachel's digging doesn't go unnoticed, which brings Joe's past – and its violence – right into this quiet Amish community.
Returning UP Original Series:
BULLOCH FAMILY RANCH – Premieres on Wednesday, February 26 at 9 p.m. EST – Season 2 – The hit unscripted UP Original Series "Bulloch Family Ranch" is back for a second season in 2014 with a mix of brand-new and returning Ranch "kids" all grappling with dramatic, major milestone life events. In partnership with Peace Point Entertainment and Crybaby Media, the series chronicles the dramatic everyday adventures of Julie and Rusty Bulloch, a fun-loving working class couple from Lakeland, FL that juggles multiple jobs to make ends meet. Together, they are the proud "parents" of currently more than 30 kids. Only two, Amanda and Brodie, are biological. The rest are teens and young adults who have lived at -- and periodically returned to – the Bulloch Ranch during various times of dire need. For almost two decades, the Ranch has served as a place where troubled teens and young adults are welcomed with open arms and given a chance to get back on the right track. In the upcoming seven-episode season, viewers can expect the Bullochs to reveal even more of their hearts, generous spirits and good works as new and much-loved returning faces join the family fold and struggle with major life decisions and events. Viewers will meet 21-year old single mother Ciara, and discover how a series of bad decisions by those closest to her have left this complicated, beautiful young woman utterly broke, pregnant again and in need of some love and stability. Her relationship with past Ranch kid Shawndell (currently serving a three-year term in prison) is at a turning point. In addition, high school football player Jordan, 17, returns to face multiple challenges -- his senior year, his shoulder injury recovery, and his distracting girlfriend. Twenty-one-year old Wilson continues to work and save up for his wedding by living at the Ranch. This being his second stay with the Bullochs, Wilson now thinks of himself as 'an older, wiser voice" among the "kids." Finally, talented scholarship footballer and former Ranch kid Claude Davis, 25, also returns to regroup, train and focus on his return to professional football.
HEARTLAND - Premieres on Wednesday, February 26 at 8 p.m. EST - Season 5 – Based on Lauren Brooke's best-selling novels, the fifth season of this beloved, popular family drama continues to follow life on the ranch as Amy Fleming (Amber Marshall), her older sister Lou (Michelle Morgan) and their grandfather Jack (Shaun Johnston) deal with the challenges of running the ranch that has been in their family for six generations. During this season's 18 new episodes, Amy reaches a new level of horsemanship that sets her down a freeing path and opens her up to greater opportunities. Ty (Graham Wardle) realizes that in order to move forward with his life and his relationship with Amy, he has to make some tough decisions. Lou grapples with the realities of motherhood and the possibility of going back into the workforce when money becomes tight. Tim (Chris Potter) seeks out his long lost son to establish a relationship and must figure out a way to tell his daughters they have a brother. Jack takes some risks and learns to face his own fears but will remain the rock of Heartland, gently (and sometimes not so gently) helping his family deal with the ups and downs they experience in their lives.
UP, America's favorite network for uplifting entertainment is a 24-hour television network that provides high-quality, diverse, family-friendly programming, including original and premiere movies, theatricals, drama and comedy series, music and holiday specials. UP can be seen in 65 million homes in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) on cable systems including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Charter and Cox Communications as well as DIRECTV (Channel 338), DISH Network (Channel 188) and Verizon FIOS (Channel 224). As part of its mission to entertain and uplift, the network's pro-social initiative "Uplift Someone" reminds and inspires people to do simple acts of kindness. UP is also a service provider to its sister network ASPiRE. Based in Atlanta, UP is a division of UP Entertainment, LLC, which also offers gMovies, the first faith-friendly streaming movie service. Follow UP on the Web at www.UPtv.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UPtv, Twitter on @UPtv and Instagram at UP_TV.