Hallmark has become known for its special brand of films for family viewing. Especially in the pre-Christmas period, viewers flock to the channel and its branches for some sweet, cocoa-like romance, which is always served with a long and happy life. However, behind the scenes, the drama may be a little more real, as a number of Hallmark actors have switched to GAC Family as the rival chain creates its own market sector. Stars like Candice Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar may seem like a pretty big loss for Hallmark, but the channel’s management doesn’t seem too concerned.
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 seemed to subtly undercut those who left. Explaining that Hallmark is always looking for new actors to join the family, she said (via Yahoo!):
We have kept a lot of our talents, except for Christmas movies. We are constantly looking for new talents. I think there’s a lot of talent that we’ve worked with in the past that the GAC is working with now, but I think we’re also constantly trying to develop the talent pool that we’re working with. We have, I think, retained almost everyone we are really happy to have. So that’s where we are.
Lisa Hamilton Daly acknowledged that there are some talents who are currently working with GAC Family, but mostly she said that Hallmark has retained actors with whom she is interested in collaborating in the future. Now she’s said “almost everything,” so maybe there are a handful of artists that she and other executives were really sad to see. However, Hallmark’s message is pretty clear: forward and up, and thanks for the memories.
Candice Cameron Bure signed an exclusive contract with GAC Family in April, following the departure of Jen Lilly and Danica Patrick from Hallmark. Patrick was the first to leave the ship back in October 2021, and while it was assumed that Patrick’s move to a rival network would trigger others (and it did for some, like Trevor Donovan and Jessica Lowndes), many stars apparently decided to stay with Hallmark.
Mean Girls actress Lacey Chabert signed an exclusive deal with Hallmark in February to star and be an executive producer of TV movies and other content for the next two years. Jonathan Bennett signed his exclusive contract in April, after in 2020 he got the role of the star of the first Hallmark Christmas movie with the main LGBTQ+ storyline, “Christmas House”. Holly Robinson Pete and Andrew Walker are familiar to everyone who has watched the channel. around Christmas, and they were joined by even more talented names, including Amy Teagarden from Friday Night Lights, Taylor Cole and Brennan Elliott, who signed in March. Add to this an increase in the number of scenarios in the future of Hallmark, and there won’t be much reason to look back.
It’s impossible to say how much hostility there really is between Hallmark and the actors who have gone to his rival, but it’s impossible to say that there are some heavy hitters on both channels, and in this case, perhaps it’s all about movie lovers, who are the real winners? If you’re like me and can’t wait for Christmas, check out these upcoming Hallmark movies.