Hallmark Bringing ‘The Mystery Cruise’ to TV as Movie, Backdoor Pilot and Potential Series

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The Mystery Cruise – based on the novel “The Santa Cruise” by New York Times Best-Selling authors Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark – will first debut as a made-for-TV movie on the Hallmark Channel this fall. The two-hour telefilm will serve as a backdoor pilot for the network’s next potential primetime series – much like ‘Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove’, which is already set to be the first-ever scripted drama from the cabler.

‘The Mystery Cruise’ will center on best friends and impending partners, Alvirah Meehan (Gail O’Grady of ‘NYPD Blue’ fame), a lottery winner turned amateur sleuth and Regan Reilly (Michelle Harrison from the Hallmark Channel movie ‘Tom Dick & Harriet’), a private investigator. After the two heroines rescue the diamond-collared pooch of a wealthy socialite (to be played by author Carol Higgins Clark), the duo sets off with their spouses to join Regan’s mom, Nora Reilly (Colleen Winton from ‘The 4400’), a world famous mystery writer, on a luxurious three-day cruise around the San Juan Island off the coast of Washington, the setting for a mystery game created to promote the release of Nora’s latest book. As the boat calmly sets sail, everyone is enjoying getting into character, especially Alvirah, who may or may not be the “murderess” in the mystery game. But troubled waters lie ahead when Alvirah gets a hunch that a real killer may be on board and together with Regan the pair teams up to take the killer down.

This made-for-TV movie is an Entertainment One Television production with Emmy Award nominees Howard Burkons and Brenda Friend (both from ‘“The Ron Clark Story’) and Entertainment One’s Ira Pincus (‘Goodnight for Justice’) and John Morayniss (‘Hell on Wheels’) as executive producers. Doug Barr (‘Notes From the Heart Healer’) serves as director from a script written by Burkons.

‘The Mystery Cruise’ is set to debut on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, October 19 at 9/8c and should the project receive a greenlight to be turned into a series it will air in 2014.