Given the slew of Hallmark stars who have defected to rival network GAC Family recently, it makes sense that some of the movie franchises the network and its sister channel Movies & Mysteries would be seeing some changes to some of its longer-running franchises. But I didn’t realize how many of these had been canceled until I was doing some sleuthing related to Candace Cameron Bure’s shift to GAC Family and her Aurora Teagarden movies. As it turns out, its probable demise comes after Hallmark canceled three other long-running mystery franchises.
Here’s the gist, over the last year, Hallmark canceled Hailey Dean Mysteries starring Kellie Martin, Matchmaker Mysteries starring Danica McKellar and Victor Webster, and the Picture Perfect mysteries starring the husband-wife duo of Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega. No announcement was made but each was quietly confirmed, so quietly that I’m only realizing it months later.
With nine movies under its belt, Hailey Dean Mysteries was one of the most prolific mystery franchises at Hallmark, despite only running between 2016 and 2019. It wasn’t until the holiday season last year that Kellie Martin learned she wouldn’t get to bring the character back to the small screen for more TV movies. She noted in a tweet:
Looking at the second franchise, the loss of Matchmaker Mysteries actually makes a ton of sense, as Danica McKellar is one of the major names who has shifted to GAC. However, it’s worth noting that McKellar only signed a four-picture deal with GAC Family and seems to still be a fan of her work in Matchmaker Mysteries so its not like the series had to end. Regardless, her first GAC Family movie aired in January of 2022, and that same month, Danica McKeller told a fan on social media the network had “decided to stop making [Matchmaker] last summer” – well before she left in October.
Of the three, Picture Perfect mysteries was probably my least favorite, though Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega obviously have chemistry. Similarly in the case of that franchise (which only had three movies), Alexa PenaVega was the one to reveal the cabler had canceled her mystery projects, noting on Instagram Stories “sadly no” when one fan asked if Hallmark Movies & Mysteries would be making any more. Given the context in Danica McKellar’s previous comment, it may have been one of the summer casualties as well, but we only heard about it months later.
To note, we also saw Candace Cameron Bure’s exit happen recently, and while she is not under an overall deal with GAC Family, after early reports indicated she might keep her Aurora Teagarden series, it seems that long-running Hallmark franchise is probably over as well. That one I knew already, but given this large swathe of projects shifting and changing, it’s enough to make you wonder if Hallmark has been trimming the fat and in doing so spurred some of these exits or spurred some of the most ardent Hallmark regulars to at least try out the other network.
The good news? Lacey Chabert just signed a new overall Hallmark deal, so the beloved Crossword Mysteries are (hopefully) safe for now. And the cabler just debuted a new franchise starring Nikki DeLoach and Andrew W. Walker that frankly has a goofy title -- Dying for Chocolate: A Curious Caterer Mystery -- but was among the more likable of the newer ones of these the network has debuted. So there’s hopefully good news on the horizon, even if some fan-favorites have been let go.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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