"A Taste of Love"
Hallmark Media/Photographer: Courtesy Digital Caviar

Why the Hallmark Channel Almost Passed on New Rom-Com 'A Taste of Love'

The cast and crew explain how they got the film on Hallmark

If you've seen "A Taste of Love," you can understand why it's hard to believe that Hallmark originally passed on the movie. Not only does the cast feature Martin Kove, best known as John Kreese in the "Karate Kid" franchise and Netflix's "Cobra Kai," but his heartthrob of a son, Jesse Kove, is the male lead. The fact that this movie will be a hit is a no-brainer, however, someone at Hallmark didn't think so. 

Filmed in Dunedin, Florida, "A Taste of Love" features everything viewers look for in a Hallmark movie. Small-town charm, a woman amid a major career decision, a family-owned business at risk of being shut down, and even a run-in with a childhood sweetheart. Filmmakers delivered a movie following the Hallmark formula to a tee with a cast that finally doesn't include Lacey Chabert or Andrew Walker (we love them, but we love to change it up!) — what more could they ask for? 

Ahead of the film's premiere on Monday, Feb. 19 at 8/7c., the cast and crew of "A Taste of Love" reunited at the 2024 Dunedin International Film Festival, where they attended a screening of the movie and a Q&A panel with fans. At the latter, they shocked the crowd when they revealed that Hallmark initially rejected the film. 

Turning a screenplay into a full-length film is no easy feat and the "A Taste of Love" crew were open about the setbacks they experienced throughout the process. At the 2024 DIFF Q&A panel with the cast and crew, Producer Todd Yonteck shared that rejection is a large part of filmmaking.

"We had a lot of hurdles along the way," he stated. "Hallmark originally said no, so the film could have stopped right there right? But we said, 'No, we're going to make this film.' So we persevered and we made the film." Yonteck also joked that it takes a bit of "liquid courage" as well to get things done in the movie industry. 

The Cast Got Hallmark To Change Their Mind

Image via Hallmark Media/Photographer: Courtesy Digital Caviar

Instead of looking towards other networks, the cast of "A Taste of Love" put in the extra work to change Hallmark's mind. They picked up the phone and reached out to the network, asking them why they passed on the movie, and it shows how fickle the industry can be. 

Yonteck praised the cast, saying, "I have never worked with such actors who really stood behind a film, so believe it or not, part of the people who helped make this go to Hallmark were the actors." After receiving enough calls, Hallmark decided to consider the film again and eventually changed their minds. 

While we'll likely never know exactly why Hallmark first passed on "A Taste of Love," Tony Armer, the former Film Commissioner in St. Pete and Clearwater, offered his insight on the matter. 

"They have their own pipeline of content that they produce," the host of the panel explained. "So they'll take some things from outside, some things from internal and it can be political where it's like 'Well, we didn't shepherd this from beginning to end so maybe we don't want this.' ... That's just corporations being corporations." 

It makes sense, but thankfully the actors stepped up and did what they do best to get Hallmark to change their mind. 

Martin Kove Taught His Son How To Network

Image via Hallmark Media/Photographer: Courtesy Digital Caviar

According to the cast, networking is a huge part of making it in Hollywood. While younger actors are more likely to use digital resources to make connections, sometimes it's the more traditional methods that get recognized.

"I'm all about picking up the phone and making calls because I learned that from him," Jesse Kove said, referring to his father, Martin Kove, who has worked in the industry since the '70s. He joked that sometimes you have to do more to get a response or a meeting, like sending cookies! Whatever they did seemed to work though, and with Hallmark on board, the film will surely get the recognition it deserves.

What is 'A Taste of Love' About?

Image via Hallmark Media/Photographer: Courtesy Digital Caviar

Taylor (played by Erin Cahill) has her own cooking show, but when her contract is up, she's faced with a big decision on what direction to take her career in. To get her head together, she returns to her small-town home in Dunedin, Florida, where she learns her parents (played by Martin Kove and Susan Gallagher) are selling the family restaurant. It can no longer compete with the other eateries in the area, but Taylor is determined to come up with a solution. 

While spending time in her hometown, she runs into her childhood sweetheart, Jacob (played by Jesse Kove). After spending more time together reminiscing, their bond grows and a romance develops. However, Taylor is conflicted over pursuing a relationship with Jacob, helping her family save their restaurant, and accepting her dream job in a different city.

"A Taste of Love" features a well-rounded cast. Martin Kove, best known as John Kreese from the "Karate Kid" franchise, plays Glenn, a loving father and chef. The female lead is his onscreen daughter, Taylor, played by Cahill. You may recognize her as Jen Scotts or the "Pink Ranger" in the 2001 television series "Power Rangers Time Force."

Playing opposite Cahill is Jesse Kove as Jacob. As Martin's son, the two often work together and Jesse has even appeared on "Cobra Kai." You may recognize him from the 2019 film "D-Day: Battle of Omaha Beach" or his 2023 Christmas movie "The Holiday Proposal Plan" with Tatyana Ali.

Susan Gallagher also appears in the film as Patty, Taylor's mother. She's most known for playing a homeless woman on "Cobra Kai," and recently appeared in "Merry Good Enough" and "Fast Charlie." Other cast members include Lily Jane, Ashley Dulaney, Tymberlee Hill, and Darla Delgado. 

"A Taste of Love" premieres on Hallmark Channel on Monday, Feb. 19 at 8/7c. This is a must-see for food lovers and "Karate Kid" fans!

READ MORE: Real Life Father and Son Martin and Jesse Kove Co-Star in Hallmark's 'A Taste of Love'