Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone Franchise Moves to Hallmark Channel

Jesse Stone
Chris Reardon /CBS/Landov
Jesse Stone

Tom Selleck has played small town police chief Jesse Stone in eight popular movies on CBS. Now, the curmudgeonly cop has found a new home on Hallmark Channel.

The next installment of the franchise based on Robert Parker’s detective novels, Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise, is slated for a fall 2015 debut; there are plans for at least two new movies and perhaps more, TV Insider has learned. CBS dropped the franchise—which drew large total audiences, but from an older demographic—in 2012. Reviving it could be a smart play for the older-female skewing Hallmark Channel to attract more men.

In January over breakfast in a New York hotel, the Blue Bloods star hinted that we hadn’t seen the last of Robert Parker’s beloved character and cable could be its new home. Here’s some of what he said about the franchise.

You’ve said you’re doing some writing. Does that mean you’re developing projects for yourself?
Well, I wrote many of the Jesse Stone movies with my producing partner Michael Brandman. We’ve done eight of them and there’s a lot of interest in doing more. Probably not on CBS.

Can you do the movies on another network?
I already have permission from CBS to take it elsewhere. Jesse is a character I have not used up.

The fans seems to agree. The eight movie “Benefit of the Doubt,” did pretty good in the ratings.
Pretty good? The movie had 13 million viewers!

True, but the demo is an older one.
Well, it wasn’t just that. Jesse Stone was CBS’s last movie franchise. After they dropped the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, we were the last survivors. I only got the last one, because I had said, “I’m not giving up Jessie Stone to a pilot [Blue Bloods] on spec. When fans see me, they often say, “I love Blue Bloods, but what about Jesse?’ I’m very proud of that.

Are you shopping the franchise to cable networks?
There’s been a lot of interest there. I think cable’s a good place for it. It’s a little more grown up. Jesse’s very adult. He has a certain amount of edge. He’s a pretty dark individual.