Hallmark has been known for way more than greeting cards and keepsake ornaments for many years now, with the company, arguably, being much more beloved for the Hallmark Channel and the dozens upon dozens (upon dozens) of seasonal made for TV romantic movies it produces every year. The Countdown to Christmas lineup is particularly popular when it comes to upcoming Hallmark movies, with the number of movies growing yearly, along with viewing numbers, as those films begin to air earlier and earlier into the holiday season.
But, if you’ve been paying attention to Hallmark news as of late, you’ll know that the network has been making headlines for a very different reason, as several well-known stars who’ve been working in Hallmark movies for years have now decided to decamp for its burgeoning competitor, GAF (Great American Family). Well, if you’ve been trying to keep track of everyone who’s left Hallmark behind but are having trouble, we’re here for you. Below, we have a list of every Hallmark actor who’s no longer working with the network, and those we know are staying. Let’s go!
Leaving: Candace Cameron Bure
While not the first of Hallmark’s former movie stars to take a hike (we’ll get to someone else who departed much earlier in a bit), it’s possible that Candace Cameron Bure leaving the channel has been the most shocking of all the recent departures. Seen by many as essentially the face of Hallmark’s lineup, with 29 films under her belt, Cameron Bure signed a deal with GAF’s parent company, Great American Media, in mid-April 2022, according to Variety.
Cameron Bure’s GAF deal allows the star to develop, produce, and star in movies and other content across GAF, and its sister channel, Great American Living. She will have a large part in the annual Great American Christmas celebration for GAF (which will only be in its second year in 2022) going forward, along with having an executive role at the networks that allow her to help “curate” content for both channels. While it was thought at first that Cameron Bure would still be seen on Hallmark for her long-running Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series of films, that was cancelled soon after the original announcement.
Leaving: Danica McKellar
Another massive name in Hallmark movies, Danica McKellar, was the first big name to leave back in late October of 2021, when Deadline reported that she signed her own deal with GA Media. McKellar’s contract calls for her to executive produce and star in four original movies for GAF and GA Living (though it’s not clear if that’s four total films or four for each channel). McKellar has 16 Hallmark titles to her name (including the Matchmaker Mysteries franchise), and her first GAF film, The Winter Palace, aired in January 2022.
Leaving: Jen Lilley
Jen Lilley might not be well-known to those who don’t watch Hallmark movies, but the actress has made over a dozen of the films since 2017, with her most recent one (Where Your Heart Belongs) airing in early 2022. But, in January, just a few days after that movie premiered, it was announced that Lilley had made a deal with GAC Media to star in four original films for the company over the next two years, with Lilley later having to defend the GAC Family move to fans.
Leaving: Trevor Donovan
With eight movies making him yet another recognizable face for Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Trevor Donovan began the exodus in mid-October 2021, when he signed with GAF to star in and executive produce both movies and series for its channels.
Leaving: Jessica Lowndes
While likely best-known for her work on The CW’s reboot of 90210, Jessica Lowndes has a little over a handful of recognizable Hallmark titles, like Christmas at Pemberley Manor, to her name. But, mid-February of 2022 saw the actress ink a deal to write, produce, star in, and direct four movies for GAC Family, shortly after her Harmony from the Heart premiered there.
Staying: Lacey Chabert
All is far from lost when it comes to Hallmark favorites staying put. Lacey Chabert, who’s nearly as well known for her almost 30 Hallmark films as for her role in Mean Girls, signed an exclusive deal in late February 2022 to star in and executive produce movies and other content for Hallmark Channel and its other platforms over the next two years, per Variety. Chabert has been very open about adoring the network’s happy endings, so this is a definite boon for fans.
Staying: Jonathan Bennett
Another Mean Girls cast alum, Jonathan Bennett, also decided to stay put, after becoming the star of Hallmark’s first Christmas film with a major LGBTQ+ storyline, The Christmas House, in 2020. Bennett’s deal (which was made official in early April 2022) will see the recently married actor in an exclusive, multi-picture deal with Hallmark, though it’s unknown how many movies he’ll be making or for how long the deal lasts.
Staying: Holly Robinson Peete
Holly Robinson Peete started with Hallmark in 2015, and has gone on to star in 12 movies (including the Morning Show Mystery franchise) and her Meet the Peetes reality series for the channel, so fans were surely excited in late March when Deadline announced that she’d also signed a deal with the network. Peete’s deal is also of the multi-picture variety, and will lock her down exclusively for the holiday TV movie season.
Staying: Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker, who’s starred in a couple of handfuls of Hallmark movies, including The 27-Hour Day and My Christmas Family Tree, since making his debut there in 2012, also agreed to an exclusive, multi-picture overall deal in the spring of 2022, as reported by Deadline.
Staying: Heather Hemmens
Heather Hemmens is one of the newer stars on Hallmark (she was also part of the Dad, Stop Embarrassing Me cast), with only three titles so far (the recently released Caribbean Summer, last year’s Christmas in My Heart, and 2019’ Love, Take Two). Early March 2022 saw Hemmens sign on with the channel for her own exclusive, multi-picture deal.
Staying: Brennan Elliott
The veteran of 16 Hallmark titles, including the Flower Shop Mystery and Crossword Mystery franchises, Deadline reported in March 2022 that Brennan Elliott inked his own exclusive, multi-picture overall deal, after having begun working with Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries back in 2013, with his part on the series, Cedar Cove.
Staying: Taylor Cole
April 2022 also saw Taylor Cole, who’s starred in over a dozen Hallmark titles like South Beach Love and the One Winter Weekend series of films, sign an exclusive multi-picture deal to continue with the network, as reported by Deadline.
Staying: Aimeé Teegarden
Deadline also got the scoop on former Friday Night Lights cast member Aimeé Teegarden’s exclusive multi-picture deal with Hallmark back in late April 2022. Teegarden is also a newer face to the network, appearing in four movies for the company, with Heart of the Matter having premiered on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on May 15.
Staying: Luke Macfarlane
Luke Macfarlane, who’ll soon be seen on the big screen in Billy Eichner’s Bros, is another well-known face around Hallmark, with over a dozen titles like the recently released Moriah’s Lighthouse on his resume. Word of Macfarlane’s multi-picture deal with Hallmark was revealed in early May 2022.
Staying… Maybe: Tamera Mowry-Housley
Tamera Mowry-Housley is best known for acting opposite her twin sister in the popular series, Sister, Sister, and for co-hosting the talk show, The Real, for several years, but she’s also made a few Hallmark movies (like 2020’s sweetly watchable Christmas Comes Twice) over the years. In mid-November of 2020, Deadline noted that Mowry-Housley signed up to star in and executive produce movies for the channel, however there’s been no word amid all of the Hallmark comings and goings about whether or not that deal is still active or, if it’s not, whether or not Mowry-Housley and Hallmark are expected to ink a new pact.
As you can see, while a number of stars have decided to leave Hallmark for what they likely see as the greener pastures at GAF, there are still plenty of big names with recognizable faces to look forward to in Hallmark’s new movies.
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