Hallmark Has Cancelled This Year's Kitten Bowl, But A Competitor Is Ready To Save The Day

kitten in the kitten bowl hallmark channel
(Image credit: Hallmark)

While there are, obviously, millions of people who simply cannot wait for the Super Bowl to come around every year, there are also tons of people who need something not quite so football related to enjoy while everyone else is yelling at their TV screen. For the past eight years, it was possible for those folks to tune into the Hallmark channel and watch the Kitten Bowl, which saw dozens of the fluffy animals play a very pretend game of football. Now, though, 2022’s Kitten Bowl has been cancelled by Hallmark, but there is an increasingly familiar competitor that might be ready to save the day: GAC Media.

What’s Going On With Hallmark And The Kitten Bowl?

It was just on Saturday night that a representative from Hallmark had to clarify where the network stood with regards to the Kitten Bowl. The annual event is typically very well hyped in the weeks leading up to it, and with the Super Bowl coming along in a few days, fans of the Kitten Bowl were likely surprised to have heard nothing about the event, and there were already reports that it had been cancelled. The rep replied to a fan on the channel’s Facebook page who inquired about the status of the cute, three-hour special (in the comment section on a post about one of their upcoming movies), and wrote:

While we are not currently developing original animal-centric programming, Hallmark Channel is pleased to support partners like North Shore Animal League America as part of our commitment to social responsibility initiatives.

The news has been disappointing to many, especially because a lot of local animal shelters would hold events during the same weekend to help bolster their adoption initiatives. Those who were sad to hear that the Kitten Bowl was officially cancelled include former Crown Media president and CEO, Bill Abbott, who now runs GAC Media and left his previous job after controversy over an LGBTQ commercial erupted.

What’s Going On With GAC Media And The Kitten Bowl?

After word of the Kitten Bowl cancellation was confirmed by Hallmark, the next day saw Bill Abbott take to Twitter to bemoan the loss of the “passion project” to his followers. According to Variety, much of the passion for the event came from Abbott himself, as he always worked with animal advocate and Kitten Bowl host, Beth Stern, on the yearly special, which led to more than 75,000 pets finding homes because of the event. 

A source to the outlet says that Abbott is already trying to think of ways to bring the Kitten Bowl to his company, which runs the channels GAC Family and GAC Living, and launched in September of last year. Apparently, a meeting was quickly set for this week to see whether or not GAC could acquire rights to air a new Kitten Bowl in 2023.

This would be yet another step in the direction of turning GAC into a very strong Hallmark competitor. GAC Family launched its own set of Christmas movies (known as the Great American Christmas franchise), which featured 13 brand new films, to rival Hallmark’s annual happy ending-focused Countdown to Christmas movies in 2021. 

Also, the new network has already managed to set exclusive contracts with a few Hallmark stars, so that new rom-coms and romantic dramas from them will air only on GAC Family. Danica McKellar switched over to the new channel by the end of October 2021 (in addition to actor Trevor Donovan), and star Jen Lilley had also moved to GAC by mid-January. And, GAC Family is still turning out made-for-TV movies that feature a number of other Hallmark stars who are well-known to viewers who love their delightfully cheesy films

Time will tell whether or not GAC Media is able to bring the Kitten Bowl back in 2023, but if you’re missing it you can always watch previous installments on Hallmark’s website. In the meantime, be sure to see what you can watch right now with our list of the 2022 TV premiere dates

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.