As the Hallmark Channel gears up for the debut of its first-ever movie centering on a same-sex couple, its burgeoning competitor, Great American Family, is moving in a different direction.
Bill Abbott, who helmed Hallmark’s Crown Media until his departure in 2021, is now leading Great American Family, where Candace Cameron Bure serves as chief content officer.
Bure recently spoke with the Wall Street Journal about projects in the works at GAF, including her forthcoming holiday flick, “A Christmas… Present,” debuting November 27. She told the newspaper she wants to tell stories “that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them.”
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“I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment,” the 46-year-old star said.
As for her exit from Hallmark — where she’d carved out her niche as the “Queen of Christmas” — Bure said the entertainment brand had become “a completely different network” than it was when she joined, because of a “change of leadership.”
On Dec. 11, Hallmark will debut “The Holiday Sitter,” a story about two men falling in love with each other.
While Bure didn’t decry Hallmark for anything it’s producing, she told the WSJ the focus will be elsewhere for Great American Family, which is debuting 18 Christmas movies this year.
“I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she told the news outlet.
Abbott echoed Bure’s remarks, saying, “It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends. There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.’”
The GAF chief executive left Hallmark after facing scrutiny for refusing to air a commercial from the wedding planning site Zola. The ad featured two women kissing each other. Abbott, for his part, has said the timing of his departure from Crown Media was entirely coincidental.
When Bure first announced her partnership with GAF in April, she said in a statement she was “very excited to develop heartwarming family and faith-filled programming and make the kind of stories my family and I love to watch.”
“[GAF] fits my brand perfectly,” she continued. “We share a vision of creating compelling wholesome content for an audience who wants to watch programming for and with the whole family. Great, quality entertainment with a positive message is what my partnership with [GAF] is all about.”
Bure said her goal is to strike a balance between faith-focused and family-friendly entertainment that will be appealing to believers and unbelievers alike.
“I want to be able to tell that story in a beautiful way, but also that is not off-putting to the unbeliever or someone who shares a different faith,” she added.
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Author: Tré Goins-Phillips
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