10 questions with Hallmark Channel’s Bubbly Sesh

Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook are the two enthusiastic personalities behind Hallmark Channel’s official Bubbly Sesh podcast.

What is the Hallmark Channel’s Bubbly Sesh podcast and why should people tune in?

Hallmark Channels’ Bubbly Sesh podcast is the official podcast of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and each week we recap every Hallmark movie premiere. If we are reviewing a Saturday night romance, we do a deep dive into the chemistry of our leading couple, play games, analyze character motivations, and of course, laugh a lot!

For our Sunday night mysteries, we are on the case right along with our listeners – analyzing suspects and trying to figure out whodunit.

We are reviewing all of the new Hallmark Christmas movies this holiday season, Countdown to Christmas on Hallmark Channel and Miracles of Christmas on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries so, our show is going to have lots of fun new segments that are holiday themed! 

We also are lucky enough to interview a lot of Hallmark talent and people who work behind the scenes. We get to talk to many of the people responsible for producing our favorite content and it’s great to have their insight- plus they are always a lot of fun!  

People should listen because it’s made for fans by fans. We get such joy from these beloved movies and TV shows and are very grateful to be able to be a part of such a wonderful community. Our podcast will keep you entertained, it may make you think about things in the movies a bit more deeply, and it will definitely put a smile on your face!

We are two bubbly girls after all!

How did your formal relationship with Hallmark Channel come about? What were some of the biggest changes you noticed after making the transition?

We had been doing the podcast for about a year and had just finished covering all of the Hallmark Christmas movies for 2018. We e-mailed Bill Abbott, the CEO of Crown Media, to see if he would take a meeting with us. Much to our surprise and delight, he agreed! 

Before we went into the Crown Media office, we were nervous, but also really excited. We knew that working with Hallmark Channel would be a dream come true for both of us. Bill was very welcoming and we told him all about the podcast we had been working on for the last year and how much we love Hallmark Channel content.

Bill was so appreciative of our joy and enthusiasm for the brand, so he asked us if we wanted to tell our story to a few people from the sales team. We followed him down the hallway, expecting to be brought into a room with a hand full of people. What we didn’t know is that Crown Media was having a huge sales meeting with employees from multiple locations in the NYC office.

We told them our story, and at the end, they clapped. THEY CLAPPED! We couldn’t believe it – it was like we were in our very own Hallmark movie.  We started working in the Crown Media office less than two months later!

The biggest changes we have noticed are that now we have the support of the Hallmark family behind us. We are still two bubbly gals and good friends chatting about our favorite subject, but now we are Hallmark Official—it’s great to get the inside scoop!

It’s also fantastic because we are able to reach a lot more listeners this way and having us in-house at theCrown Media offices in NYC makes us feel like a part of the family

What have you learned from your guests about how to be the best possible podcast hosts?

We’ve learned that it’s sometimes okay to let the conversation breathe a little and not to be afraid of a few moments of silence, because sometimes interesting things that you’ve never thought of will come up then.  

It’s also been really helpful to realize that an interview may take a different turn than we thought. We always prep for each interview ahead of time but we are definitely working on letting the conversation flow naturally and allow it to go to a different place sometimes.

We talk to such interesting, fun people that we always love hearing what they have to say and getting to really know them.  

Shawlini “Shawl” Manjunath-Holbrook, Erin Cahill, Trevor Donovan, and Jacklyn “Jacks” Collier on the set of Hallmark Channel’s “Love, Fall & Order.” Credit: Bubbly Sesh Podcast.

Rank your Top 5 podcast episodes according to which guests made you laugh the most.

This is tough because all of our guests are really funny people! But some conversations do take a more reflective tone, while others can be analytical, and then others, laugh out loud funny. It’s really nice when we get to have people in-studio because the energy is infectious.

A few that we’ve had off the top of our head are Ashley Williams, Brit Bristow, John Christmas Plummer, Erin Cahill, and Trevor Donovan.

And any guests we’ve had on podcast movie recaps are really enjoyable to have on because we get to hear another perspective. 

What makes Hallmark programming so popular in today’s day and age?

Hallmark programming brings people so much joy and comfort. It is a happy place.

There is so much going on in the world that is painful, and many things that are divisive, but we know we can turn on Hallmark Channel for feel good family entertainment.

Plus, we always love watching a good love story- that is timeless!

Describe When Calls the Heart (WCTH) to someone who’s never seen it.

This is tricky, because there are so many characters to love and story lines and so much that we could say!

But to describe it to someone who has never seen it, I think the main thing to get across is that is it is a beautiful and uplifting show about a coal region town called Hope Valley.

The people of Hope Valley love and support each other through the joys and challenges of life -and they make each other laugh a lot as well!

‘When Calls the Heart’

There is such a a great ensemble cast of this show and they all work so seamlessly together to make it such a successful, moving, and entertaining program. 

What have been your first impressions of the WCTH spinoff, When Hope Calls?

We love that Hallmark added a brand new series on their streaming network, HMNow!

We have both had HMNow for awhile, but it’s exciting to see brand new content on the platform. We both have sisters, and When Hope Calls centers around two orphaned sisters coming back together after being separated when they were children.

Jocelyn Hudon and Morgan Kohan are a wonderful sister duo and then of course we have Ryan-James Hatanaka and Greg Hovanessian being handsome and charming.

We are loving it!

What do you think about the news there will be another Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie? What would you like to see in it?

We are so excited along with the POstables (the fans of SSD)! Anything that Martha Williamson writes is uplifting, powerful and special so we always love when we get a new movie to be inspired by, reflect upon and be entertained.  

We would love to see the Oliver and Shane romance continue and ahhh, they are engaged! The proposal in To The Altar was so moving.  

10 questions with Kristin Booth

We also want to see how Rita and Norman are adjusting to married life and will kids be in the future?  

Plus, the mystery element in the movies is always fascinating and keeps us riveted.  

What is Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas?

​Shawl: Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas has now become a pop culture phenonmenon! For me, it’s always been a time that I really look forward to every year. 

There is a lot going on in our world right now and it’s so nice to be able to look forward to Hallmark Channel letting me escape into their cozy, warm and family friendly movies especially during the season when I’m around so much family. 

It’s wonderful that it’s generational viewing and I can watch it with anyone of any age in my family. Plus, I live for all the romantic storytelling and the wonderful set design. 

Bring on the Christmas! 

I’ve talked to more than one person each Christmas who just wants to take the day off work and curl up in their pajamas watching Hallmark Christmas movies. What is it that makes people feel this way?

Jacks: I just learned this Danish word, “hygge,” which means coziness.

Hallmark definitely evokes those feelings for me and for so many other people. You just want to cozy up with a pair of comfy socks (I have Hallmark Channel socks and my Hallmark Channel slippers), grab some hot cocoa and relax.

Hallmark Channel movies always make me feel so happy and safe, so taking a day off from any pressures in the outside world is a just a dream. 

Shawl: ​These movies first and foremost have dynamic storytelling. They are about families, female protaganists (which of course, I appreciate as a woman) and are about love. 

Who doesn’t love, love? 

Also, they are about nostalgia and memories and the holiday season evokes those feelings in us anyway so watching something that is heartfelt yet light and fun gives us a way to feel those feelings on a deeper level.  

What is the first Hallmark Christmas movie you remember watching?

Jacks: The first Hallmark Channel Christmas movie I remember seeing is The Christmas Card. It’s such a moving story.

John Newton plays Cody Cullen, a soldier serving in Afghanistan, who is deeply touched when he receives a homemade Christmas card simply addressed to “a member of the U.S. Army.” Upon his discharge, he decides to meet the sender and say thank you in person. What he finds is totally unexpected. Credit: Crown Media.

A solider in Afghanistan gets a card from a woman in California and when he completes his tour he returns to the U.S. and tries to find the woman who send him the card.

It’s so beautiful!

Shawl: I remember wtaching Sarah, Plain and Tall, and The Love Letter with my parents. We always watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies in my house and I still look forward to those to this day.

One of my first Countdown to Christmas movies was Moonlight and Mistletoe with Candace Cameron Bure. I still enjoy Candace’s Christmas movies with Hallmark Channel. They are so light, fun, and meaningful.

What are one or two Christmas movies you’re looking forward to this year?

Jacks: I am so excited for Christmas in Evergreen : Tidings of Joy. Shawl and I both love that series and the world they have created. It’s filled with such incredible actors and the story line and the town is so heartwarming.

Novelist Katie meets Ben en route to picturesque Evergreen, where her holiday retreat is interrupted by an assignment to write an article about the town. Photo: Rukiya Bernard, Patty McCormack Antonio Cayonne, Holly Robinson Peete, Maggie Lawson, Colin Lawrence, Paul Greene, Michelle Martin Credit: ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Strongman

I wish that I could visit Evergreen, although actually getting to work at Hallmark Channel is a pretty good substitution.

There are so many I’m looking forward to, but I can’t wait to see Holiday Date. I love that it features both Hanukkah and Christmas and it stars our dear friend Brit Bristow!

When Brooke is dumped right before Christmas, she enlists the help of actor Joel to play the role of her boyfriend for the holidays. Photo: Matt Cohen, Brittany Bristow Credit: ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Allister Foster

Shawl: ​I was so thrilled to hear that Hallmark Channel was making Christmas at Dollywood! I really love and admire Dolly Parton and to have a Christmas movie set in Dollywood is just fun and exciting! 

Also, as I mentioned, I really love the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies and this year’s A Christmas Love Story with Kristen Chenoweth seems like one that I’m really going to enjoy. 

Youth choir director Katherine discovers one of her student volunteers has a golden voice and tries to enlist him for the big Christmas Eve show, despite his widowed father’s resistance. Photo: Kristin Chenoweth Credit: ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Brian Douglas

And you can never go wrong with a Candace Cameron Bure Christmas movies, so Christmas Town is one that I know will be a stand out this season. 

What is on your schedule for the Christmas season?

This Christmas season we will be recapping every new Hallmark Christmas movie.

Yep, that’s right. Every single one!

Countdown to Christmas on Hallmark Channel and Miracles of Christmas on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.  We are so excited and can’t wait to see all of the new movies this holiday season.

Our recap of each movie will drop the day after the movie premieres. So watch the movie, and then log onto your podcast app and/or visit www.hallmarkchannel.com/thebubblysesh  to listen to us chat about it the next day.  

Or even better subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode. 

We will also be doing weekly talent interviews that will drop every Thursday.  Plus, our recaps are going to have some exciting guests joining us

Who are three actor-actress pairs you would love to see star in a Hallmark movie who haven’t acted together? 

Jacks: Love this question! I would love to see Bethany Joy Lenz paired with Kristoffer Polaha, Jerrika Hinton paired with Andrew Walker, and this isn’t a romantic pairing, but a trio of amazing women: I think it would be incredible to see Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, and Danica McKellar all in one movie together.

Can you imagine the star power?! Hey, a girl can dream!

Shawl: Jacks and I chat all the time about those three super star Hallmark leading ladies being in one film together. The sisterhood.  Be still my heart. That would be truly amazing!

I think some fun pairings would be Mark Deklin with Alexa PenaVega, Luke Macfarlane and Cindy Busby, Tyler Hynes and Ali Liebert..so many talented actors and actresses in the Hallmark talent pool that I have so many more, but we would be here all day. 

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