UPtv is celebrating spring and the Easter season in a big way with its ambitious, new annual Bring the Spring programming event. True to the network's mission statement, the event (which kicked off with the premiere of God Bless the Broken Road) promises to deliver the best in uplifting entertainment during this season of hope, joy and renewal. "This is our biggest spring offering ever with movie and series debuts and specials over four weeks," said Hector Campos, Senior Vice President, Content Strategy and Acquisition at UP Entertainment during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "We always try to provide our audience with events that are filled with a variety of compelling content. This year we have the biggest Easter and Bring the Spring event in our history, bursting with new premiere movies, new series and music specials that we know viewers will love."
As a part of the offering, the network will deliver the broadcast television premieres of Southern Gospel, I Go to the Rock: The Gospel Music of Whitney Houston (pictured below) and season two of The Chosen, to name a few. Additionally, UPtv recently telecast an all-day Amish-themed movie marathon, hosted by Chonda Pierce, culminating with the premiere of The Confession Musical featuring Pierce and John Schneider and based on the best selling books by Beverly Lewis.
"[This year] it's not just movies," said Campos of the curated content on offer. "It's really well-balanced in terms of music. Whitney Houston: I Go to the Rock is the television premiere of her story. It's a fascinating look into her life, and we couldn't be happier to be the premiere network. Everyone knows she was an international pop music star, but few people are familiar with her Gospel music beginnings. As the name implies,Rock [explores] her roots in Gospel music and how her deep faith got her through some difficult periods and challenges in her life. We're so thrilled to share this side of Whitney. It's also premiering on our sister network aspireTV. It's that powerful and that appealing to all our audiences.
“It's so hard to pick my favorite because each one will provide a unique and uplifting entertaining experience for our audience," he continued. "But Southern Gospel (pictured at top) is one of them for sure. Due to its success and ability to uplift audiences, Southern Gospel has extended its theatrical run. We are thrilled that we are the only network that can offer our viewers this incredible story right in the comfort of their own homes. Gospel is really the anchor of our programming and tells the story of a rock star whose life comes crashing down, and he must fight past his demons to realize his childhood ambition of becoming a preacher. I love that we were able to incorporate inspiring elements that are organic to the story and authentically told. Plus, this story has a musical element, which is running through so much of our programming this season. This film perfectly blends all of those elements together.
"The Amish-themed The Confession Musical (pictured above) is a musical event like no other," he added. "It is a bold and innovative offering for us. We have taken the timeless Amish stories that are so popular and compelling with our viewers and placed them within a musical environment complete with original music and dancing. I don't think anybody else has tried, and we're super excited how it turned out. The millions of fans of Beverly Lewis and her movies are in for a real treat! Plus, we do have our season two premiere of The Chosen (April 2, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.), the limited series the New York Times called a crowd-funded miracle. We all know the story of Jesus and the Bible, but how they portray it humanizes the disciples and Jesus in a lot of ways. It's really compelling and fascinating, and we couldn't be prouder to have it."
According to Campos, when it comes to curating the titles for a programming event like this, UPtv's criteria is simple. "They're never going to be cookie-cutter," he shared. "They're always going to be stories authentically told, but to make the cut for Bring the Spring, those titles have to be incredibly uplifting.”
The network is also helping viewers. Amidst its programming, viewers can participate in the Bring the Spring sweepstakes with the opportunity of winning gift cards to help spruce up their homes for spring. It's all part of UPtv's ongoing effort to create a community. "We feel we have a very loyal audience, and we take that responsibility very seriously," Campos said. "This is just an additional way for folks to feel that they're part of it, and it's not just TV. We're really developing and catering to an audience we always want to super-serve."
To help keep track of the many hours of viewing on offer, UPtv has redesigned The My UPtv companion app, so viewers can be kept up to date. "It's been revamped in a way that's very easy to use," Campos explained. "You can learn about upcoming movies and series, watch previews and participate in Watch Parties to win cash! We all tend to have fast-paced lives, so being able to set a reminder and select favorites to add to your personal collection [is great]. The whole app is much more expansive than it's ever been. We appreciate everyone is inundated with notifications, but when you ask it to notify you it opens up the door and becomes like a friend, suggesting and reminding folks that things are on."
The annual Bring the Spring programming event runs through April 9. The full schedule appears below.
Friday, March 24
I Go to the Rock: The Gospel Music of Whitney Houston (World Broadcast Premiere) 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 26
Love Finds You in Charm 9 a.m.
Runaway Romance 11 a.m.
Love Finds You in Sugarcreek 1 p.m.
Love Finds You in Charm 3 p.m.
Plus One at an Amish Wedding 5 p.m.
The Confession Musical 7 p.m.
Palm Sunday | Sunday, April 2
The Ten Commandments 10 a.m.
The Chosen Season 2 Marathon 2 – 11 p.m.
Good Friday | Friday, April 7
The Chosen Season 1 Marathon 6 a.m.
The Chosen Season 2 Marathon 1:30 p.m.
The Passion of the Christ 9 p.m.
The Passion of the Christ 11 p.m.
Mary, Mother of Jesus 1 a.m.
Holy Saturday | Saturday, April 8
The Ten Commandments 3 p.m.
Mary, Mother of Jesus 7 p.m.
Easter Sunday | Sunday, April 9
The Song to My Heart 10:30 a.
Faith, Hope and Love 12:30 p.m.
A Very Country Wedding 2:30 p.m.
God Bless the Broken Road 4:30 p.m.
Southern Gospel (World Broadcast Premiere) 7 p.m.
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