Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various things, including celebrities and entertainment.
For many years, the Hallmark Channel has been a favorite for a lot of people especially when it came to watching Christmas and other holiday movies starring their favorite actors. That is about to change because dozens of longtime Hallmark actors are moving over to GAC, a new network, formerly Great American Country, but is now Great American Channel.
In June 2021, Bill Abbott acquired GAC. He is the former CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, which is Hallmark Channel’s parent company. Abbott left his position in January 2020 after controversy over a commercial that featured a same-sex couple.
Zola.com showed a commercial featuring two women getting married and sealing their marriage with a kiss. Conservative groups and others were offended and criticized the ad as not being “family-friendly.” When Hallmark pulled the ad, it caused an uproar among other groups. Abbott changed his mind and placed the ad back on the Hallmark Channel. That was the ad that broke the camel's back because there had been years of criticisms about Hallmark Channel’s lack of diversity and LGBTQ+ stories.
GAC Family and GAC Living were launched on September 27, 2021. In October 2021, GAC Family announced the network’s upcoming holiday movies as well as naming the lineup of Hallmark longtime actors who are moving to the newly branded network.
GAC Family aired 12 original Christmas movies this holiday season. Do not be misled to think GAC is all about only Christmas movies. The majority of programs are reruns of old favorites: I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Hazel, Father Knows Best, and Who’s the Boss?
Alphabetical List of Hallmark Actors Going to GAC
So far, this is the long list of actors who have moved over to GAC. They feel comfortable working with Abbott. Certainly, Abbott feels comfortable working with them for having done so for a long time.
Some of the actors have already signed lucrative contracts be executive producers over the movies they also start in.
- Nick Bateman
- Rukiya Bernard
- Cindy Busby
- Sara Canning
- Dillon Casey
- Torrance Coombs
- Trevor Donovan
- Brendan Fehr
- Jennie Garth
- Maggie Lawson
- Jen Lilley
- Sarah Lind
- Daniel Lissing
- Lori Loughlin
- Jessica Lowndes
- Matthew MacCaull
- Danica McKellar
- Cameron Mathison
- Chad Michael Murray
- Sam Page
- Merritt Patterson
- Christopher Russell
- Becca Tobin
- Jill Wagner
- Dewshane Williams
Trevor Donovan has starred in 12 Hallmark movies, but that did not keep him from signing a contract in October 2021 to star in and executive produce with GAC Media. He appeared in his first GAC Family's Jingle Bell Christmas in December 2021.
Lori Loughlin and Daniel Lissing
Lori Loughlin had leading roles in Hallmark's When Calls the Heart and Garage Sale Mysteries movies and in many holiday movies. She was let go from Hallmark after her involvement in the college admissions scandal in 2019 and was arrested. However, Lori is getting a second chance to act.
The GAC Family announced in September 2021, that Loughlin will return to television and star in the first original series of season 2 of When Hope Calls, a spinoff of When Calls the Heart. Daniel Lissing, the male lead in the series, will also appear.
Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos previously hosted Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family before it was canceled earlier this year. They both moved over to GAC Family and hosted Welcome to Great American Christmas on October 24, 2021, on the newly rebranded network. That special kicked off GAC Family's Christmas 2021 movie lineup, which included Mathison's holiday movie, Secret Santa with Jennie Garth that premiered on November 20.
In October 2021, GAC announced that Danica McKellar had signed a contract to star in and be the executive producer of four movies through 2023. Danica had been the lead in 16 Hallmark movies.
Danica's last movie on the Hallmark Channel, for the time being, was You, Me and the Christmas Trees, which premiered on October 22, 2021. Her first project on the GAC network is The Winter Palace that will premiere in January 2022.
Paul Campbell Speaks Out About GAC
Paul Campbell has starred in eleven Hallmark films. He appeared in a Christmas movie The Santa Stakeout with Tamera Mowry-Housley on the Hallmark Channel in October 2021. The Canadian actor has spoken out on Twitter about the GAC network because he is concerned about "meaningful inclusion."
In an interview, Campbell shared that he will give the network a chance first before making a decision to move over with many of his fellow actors. About the GAC Family, he also posted on Twitter:
"I, like everyone else, will be keeping a close eye on the GAC content rollout. If there’s a noticeable lack of meaningful inclusion then, no, I will not be working for that company."