Hallmark has become known for a particular brand of family friendly movies. Especially around Christmas time, viewers flock to the channel and its offshoots for some sweet-as-cocoa romance, always served with a happily-ever-after. Behind the scenes, however, the drama might be a little more real, as a number of Hallmark actors have jumped ship to GAC Family, as the rival network builds up its own corner of the market. Stars like Candace Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar might seem like pretty big losses for Hallmark, however, the channel's higher-ups don't appear to be too worried.
In fact, when Hallmark’s executive vice president of programming Lisa Hamilton Daly spoke at the Television Critics Association press conference on August 10, she appeared to take a subtle dig at those who left. In explaining that Hallmark is always looking for new actors to join the family, she said (via Yahoo!):
Lisa Hamilton Daly acknowledged that there was some talent that now works with GAC Family, but she basically said Hallmark has retained the actors it's interested in collabing with in the future. Now, she did say “almost everybody,” so it’s possible there are a handful of entertainers she and other execs really were sad to see go. However, Hallmark’s message is pretty clear: onward and upward, and thanks for the memories.
Candace Cameron Bure signed an exclusive deal with GAC Family in April, following Jen Lilley and Danica McKellar’s exits from Hallmark. McKellar was the first to jump ship back in October 2021, and while it was suspected McKellar’s move to the rival network would trigger others (and it did for some like Trevor Donovan and Jessica Lowndes), plenty of stars obviously decided to stay with Hallmark.
Mean Girls actress Lacey Chabert signed an exclusive agreement with Hallmark in February to star in and executive produce TV movies and other content over the next two years. Jonathan Bennett signed his exclusive contract in April, after he was cast as the star of Hallmark’s first Christmas film with a major LGBTQ+ storyline, The Christmas House, in 2020. Holly Robinson Peete and Andrew Walker are familiar faces to anyone who’s flipped past the channel around Christmas time, and they’re joined by even more talented names including Aimeé Teegarden of Friday Night Lights fame, Taylor Cole and Brennan Elliott, who inked his deal in March. Add to that an increase in scripted series in Hallmark's future, and there't not much reason to look back.
It can’t be said how much bad blood there actually is between Hallmark and the actors who left for its rival, but it can’t be argued that both channels are carrying some heavy-hitters, and in that case, maybe it's all the movie-lovers who are the real winners? If you’re like me and can’t wait for Christmas, check out these upcoming Hallmark movies.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.