Bill Abbott: Great American Media will be the leader in family entertainment

The CEO of Great American Media believes his network will de-throne Hallmark and become the front-runner in family-friendly television programming.

“We believe we’ll be the leader in quality family entertainment in this space,” Abbott said in a recent interview with USA Today. “…That’s a lofty and challenging objective. But we think we have the team in place to do it and the experience to do it.”

Great American Media

Abbott made headlines in June 2021 when he announced he had partnered with Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners to purchase two networks in a deal Bloomberg estimated at $90 million. Programming on the two channels began in September 2021. One network, which has been renamed Great American Family, ran romantic comedies and TV series including I Dream of Jeannie, Full House, Fuller House, Who’s the Boss, and Bewitched. The other, Great American Living, airs lifestyle programs including First Time Flippers, Aloha Builds, Growing Up Gator, and Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen.

In an interview shortly after the new networks were launched, Abbott said there was a lot of room in the market for family-friendly programming.

“There’s so much need for family content in the market and in this space,” he said. “You know, it’s pretty scary, quite frankly, the amount of content that’s out there…the vast majority of content that’s salacious and just is not appropriate for any member of the family.”

Hallmark History

Abbott spent about 20 years with Hallmark Media — called Crown Media Family Networks at the time — where he oversaw production of TV programs such as Good Witch, Cedar Cove, When Calls the Heart, and Chesapeake Shores. He also was instrumental in launching Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries’ Miracles of Christmas.

The Long Island native left the network in early 2020 and was replaced later that year by current CEO Wonya Lucas.

Great American Media has produced more than 40 original movies, including 18 new Christmas films for the 2022 season. The company has also signed deals with Hallmark stars such as Danica McKellar, Trevor Donovan, and Jen Lilley to produce and star in content.

In April, Great American Media made headlines when it signed Candace Cameron Bure to a deal.

“I’m very excited to develop heartwarming family and faith-filled programming and make the kind of stories my family and I love to watch,” Bure said in a statement through the network.

In an interview with USA Today, Bure Bure said the network will “lean into the faith element.”

For a complete list of all the new Christmas movies premiering in 2022 on Great American Family, click here.

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