Christmas movies will be airing all weekend on GAC Family.

“Much Ado About Christmas,” the first of GAC Family’s original holiday movies. (Image: GAC Media)


Is GAC the new Hallmark?

Bill Abbott worked for Hallmark for 20 years before leaving in January 2020. Now he has his two family-friendly networks, employs several of his former colleagues from Hallmark, and is working with several of the network’s favorite stars. Will Abbott’s new company eclipse his old one?

Bill Abbott insists that no single issue triggered his decision to leave Hallmark.

“…The first five years were more fun than the last five years,” he told Next TV. “When you’re building your momentum and every win is special, it’s much more invigorating than trying to stay on top of the mountain.”

After his departure in January 2020, no one knew if he would stay on the sidelines or get back in the TV game. But he is back. Officially.

In September, Abbott launched two family-friendly networks, GAC Family and GAC Living. (The GAC stands for “Great American Country,” the name of the network he purchased from Discovery Inc, which was, until recently, a country music channel.)

So far, programming has been episodes of old favorites: Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and Father Knows Best, to name a few. But that changes this weekend with the first of 12 original Christmas movies made by the network.

The GAC Family Christmas movie marathon this weekend will includeDewshane Williams and Rukiya Bernard in the GAC Family movie Christmas Time is Here
Christmas Time is Here (Image: GAC Media)

Christmas movies

In Much Ado About Christmas, Susie Abromeit stars as Haley, a beloved member of her community who also happens to be the heir to a fortune. When she meets a handsome stranger, she convinces him she was raised by a poor, single mother so that he won’t think she is a spoiled rich girl.

There’s romance, comedy, sweetness, Christmas — all the things you’d expect to see in a Hallmark movie. But Abbott wants to make it very clear that his films aren’t Hallmark movies, they’re even better.

“Not all Christmas movies are created equal,” he said. “We believe that we understand better than anybody, quite frankly, how to produce a quality Christmas movie and that ultimately, quality content wins and viewers find it.”

An interview between Bill Abbott and Jesicaa Lowndes, who will be starring in several GAC productions

Staff exodus

According to Abbott, more than a few members of the Crown Media staff agree with him. Since starting the new networks, he has been joined by several former Hallmark colleagues, including Erin McIlvain, Kristen Roberts, Mary Dzabic and Sara Murphy.

“I had a number of people who I’ve worked with for a long time who expressed an interest to come over and build something new and be involved on the ground floor,” Abbott said. “I obviously felt really good about that and it’s always good to be with people you have experience with.”

He has also nabbed a few actors. Danica McKellar, a Hallmark darling, just signed a four-movie deal with his company. Trevor Donovan and Jessica Lowndes have also signed on to write and make movies with GAC.

Morgan Kohan as Lillian Walsh on Hallmark Channel's When Hope Calls. Kohan is starring in the CTV series Sullivan's Crossing, which will air on The CW. (Image: Hallmark Media)
Morgan Kohan as Lillian Walsh on Hallmark Channel's When Hope Calls. Kohan is starring in the CTV series Sullivan's Crossing, which will air on The CW. (Image: Hallmark Media)

TV shows

Another Hallmark staple has also made the move to GAC. When Hope Calls, a spinoff of the popular Hallmark series When Calls the Heart, has found a home for its second season on the new network. Though it’s still in production, the show has already made headlines for hiring Lori Loughlin, who was fired from Hallmark when news came broke that she was involved in a college admissions bribery scandal.

In his interview, Abbott also brought up Good Witch, a series that Hallmark abruptly canceled in July.

“That was certainly a great series and James Denton and Catherine Bell were terrific in it,” he said. “We would certainly love to entertain that, but we’re not at that point yet.”

Fans, what are your thoughts? We would love to know! Email us at [email protected].

Below are some the responses we have received so far. (It seems that Goodies are on board with a GAC revival!)

“I am writing in hope that you will consider to create more seasons of Good Witch. I have found the series and movies to be so uplifting, positive and send a powerful message. This is by far a great show that should be continued. I look forward to watching it each week and it’s something that my entire family get to enjoy together! We absolutely love Good Witch! Would love to see another season with a Halloween scene again and to bring back the character of Grace.”

“I want to say that after his interview I believe even more in him to save Good Witch it makes me think that he is trying. Not saying no gives us more hope in him.
For Goodies Bill is our salvation. We truly believe he is the right one to bring our show back.
Good Witch means much more than just a show to us and we know it means the same to Bill. It fits perfectly in what Bill want to do for tv. It has the same values, the same inspirational energy and the same magical touch. This is exactly what we need now!
We don’t need more violence, sickness, horror or war on tv. We just want to sit after a long day and have our moment of peace with Good Witch at GAC. There we will be able to feel completely happy!”

“I am a fan from Barcelona, Spain, Europe.

I discovered #GoodWitch on Netflix 3 years ago and it has completely changed my life. Lately on TV all you can see is death, police, violence and people hurting each other… All of that gives you more anxiety and sadness that you already have living what we are living….

That’s why I love this show so much because it gives me an escape from reality, and I can watch it with all my family, mom, dad, grandparents, nephews… All the family loves it and we have this ritual that once a week we all meet in a house and watch some episodes of the show to just comment on what is happening, laugh and smile a little… We all love to watch it!

The thing I love about #GoodWitch the most is exactly that, that is like our family happy time. It gives so much advice and lessons that you can apply to your life. The family values that it gives are so beautiful and meaningful, my family and I try to apply them and it has made our relationship even better, we ask for help, try to do things together, be there for each other just like people are in Middleton.

That’s why I and all #goodies know that it is perfect for GAC, and we in our hearts know that Bill Abbott knows this too, because he has seen the show and knows it and knows #GoodWitch mantra better than anyone. So we hope he can help us and share this magical show to more people around the globe so it can change many more lives.

We have hope in Bill and GAC and pray for him to believe in us and #GoodWitch too!”

“I think #GoodWitch is the kind of show that everyone should see, everyone from every age in every moment of their lives. It has such a beautiful inspiring storyline that shows you how the world should and can be if we trust each other and support each other to be better persons. It inspires you in every way not only with the characters that each one has their own personalities but also teach you something with everything the do, mostly the main character Cassie not only give advice and lessons that you can apply in everything you do also change the way of the other characters to see and approach live and in the meantime change your own vision of life.

For me , like a lot of #goodies out there, Cassie is part of us and guides us in our daily lives with everything we do. She is our small voice in our heads that point us in the right direction… When I doubt something or don’t know what to do I remember one of her quotes or ask myself “What would Cassie do?” (just like Catherine Bell has said she does too) and I act by answering that question, at least I know it is the right thing to do and it is coming from the heart and soul that she has and is good and pure.

So I beg you please Bill see the unique treasure you have and how you can truly change the world by saving Good Witch and taking it to another level and a brand new audience so it can change their lives too. For what we know you did before and what you are doing at GAC you want exactly that to give your audience good inspiring family-friendly content and there is nothing better to do that than our magical #GoodWitch.”

“Good morning from the UK. What Can I say about Good Witch? It is an internationally accessible family show with love, friendship and positive messages threaded throughout every single episode. Like a warm comfy hug you know that Good Witch means you will finish each episode believing that your glass is always half full, the universe always has a plan and there is always light however dark times are. As for Middleton – who wouldn’t want to live there? Strong family and friendship values, where community is strong, supportive and hope thrives.

Then there is that fabulous cast and crew, skilfully headed up by Catherine Bell and her handsome Doctor husband played by Jamie Denton. Off the chart chemistry delivering a show that feels so real you can’t remember that they are actors and this is a show. This show has held me string through the pandemic, giving light and hope in the darkest of times. The sudden decision to end Good Witch devastated millions of fans internationally as well as in the US and Canada. We Goodies are still sad, affected and in mourning at this loss.

Then we hear the man who made Good Witch possible is setting out with a new network and suddenly a small strand of hope returns. Goodies around the world are holding their breath that finally Good Witch will return at a new home, with the cast we love, the values we hold dear and new stories to share. We hope that Bill and his team will be the person who brings us back our Cassie and Sam.”

“I keep praying that GAC and @billabbottHC get to “that point” soon.  There are no words to express the emptiness we feel. In all actuality it is like a family member that is on their deathbed.  I keep praying for a miracle and it has seemed hopeless over the past few months, we have all kept vigil.  Good Witch has been my light, even before the pandemic I was dealing with a serious illness and other emotional things and when I needed to be uplifted I would watch Good Witch and always find a message in there that was uplifting.  After weeks of letting the news set in after it was canceled, I had an appointment with my therapist and I told her I felt silly for being so sad over losing this show, and she told me I had a legitimate reason to feel the way I do.  She told me I was mourning a loss.  I want to come out of mourning and feel like the efforts we as fans have put in have been effective.  I appreciate TVCheddar for helping us in this fight, it seems you are one of the few that have made us feel like we are being heard.  so I want to say thanks.  I am keeping my faith in Bill Abbott that the “right time” will be soon and we will have a season eight and beyond, in the spring.”

“I think #GoodWitch is the perfect show to be on GAC because it is family- friendly, has inspirational storylines and characters and a cast and crew that are magical together and are really a family behind the scenes, so as you may see Bill it has all the elements to be on your channel.

The way #GoodWitch can change your life for the better is something really magical for sure.There are a lot of people out there who have been touched by #GoodWitch magic, myself included, but there are also so many people yet to be touched.

I have no idea where to start explaining how it has change my life: I have change my diet, change my thinking, I am drinking tea, cooking muffins, meditating and even doing yoga which has helped me in every aspect of my life, I study better, sleep better and are more focused and happier that I have never been (until it got canceled of course)

I just want to try and be more like Cassie, because she has a way of seeing life that is so inspiring and beautiful and I think we all should be more like her. The world will be such a better place if we all try to be more like all the residents in Middleton…

So please let the inspiration continue, let this magical show change more lives. Isn’t that what your goal is for you and your team at GAC to change the world and make it a better place by entertaining in the meantime…? Can you imagine one day waking up in “Middleton” and know you were the one who made it possible?”

“We love our show. Good witch is a inspiring story that takes you away from life’s negativity. It brings joy, peace, inspiration as well a good warm feeling. Most of us would live to live in Middleton at grey house. Be friends with Cassie. Walk the streets, browse the bell book and candle, share lunch at the bistro, run into Martha and Abigail. Hallmark has left a large distasteful hole that has affected so many of us. Internationally as well as here in the U.S. We all really miss and want our show back. I hope you can help us. Thank you for your time.”

“#Goodies are living in a constant nightmare we can’t wake up from, and especially at this time of the year our hearts are broken more than ever before. As you may know October is a unique month for us #Goodies because it is Halloween and in our #GoodWitch month, we wait all year for this season to come and go to Middleton to experience their magic, fun, family events and feel like we are part of that magical beautiful town. Every Halloween we turn into Middletonians and decorate our houses, share time with our family and friends and just live in the present moment as #GoodWitch has always taught us to do. It is our month of excitement over what amazing ideas the cast and crew will share with us.

This year everything is different, not only we are in darkness because #GoodWitch abrupt cancellation, we are also robbed of our favourite month and celebration. Our most happy month has turned into the worst one, because everything we do, see, smell… remind us of this season and Halloween and it also reminds us of what we have lost. We don’t have our cast and crew enchanting our lives, we don’t have #Sassie romantic scenes, we don’t have the fun community of Middleton making us smile, we don’t have pumpkin races… we can´t go to Middleton to be with our family and we are in this hell of nightmare.

We pray every day for Bill to find a way to get #GoodWitch to GAC, where it truly belongs so we can enjoy the magic of Middleton Halloween again and that it can be shared with many more people around the world.

Usually people think of Halloween as a ugly celebration but that is again the magic of #GoodWitch that it changes everything you think and how you see life. For #goodies Halloween is the best season of all, because it is a time where the community can turn in together as never before, where friendship, love and family are celebrated, is the most magical season of all because that is what #GoodWitch has taught us!

So we hope for this feeling of loss and darkness to end soon and for the magic to be restored, so we #goodies can enjoy our unique month again and that we can share it with #GACers too, hopefully soon.”

“About Bill Abbott and Gac I want to say that after his interview I believe even more in him to save Good Witch it makes me think that he is trying. Not saying no gives us more hope in him.
For Goodies Bill is our salvation. We truly believe he is the right one to bring our show back.
Good Witch means much more than just a show to us and we know it means the same to Bill. It fits perfectly in what Bill want to do for tv. It has the same values, the same inspirational energy and the same magical touch. This is exactly what we need now!
We don’t need more violence, sickness, horror or war on TV. We just want to sit after a long day and have our moment of peace with Good Witch at GAC. There we will be able to feel completely happy! “

“It is impressive at best to see how well Bill Abbott has navigated his powers if you will, to turn GAC into the premier family network with already creating such a magnificent buzz all over social media!

The way Bill has shifted the balance of power away from Hallmark Channel in such a short period of time is nothing short of a miracle! He definitely knows what he is doing and the fact that he is making it well known to everyone he is listening and wants to be directly involved with his new viewers. I admire the fact that he wants to create a community and build a family within his GAC family!

With every star and every show Bill has acquired for GAC, there is still one major piece of business Bill has yet to conclude. We are anxiously waiting to hear about the fate of our beloved Good Witch, a show that we have been campaigning to save for the last 16 weeks. We are encouraged by his latest admission that the shows stars did a great job on that show and that he would entertain the thought of adding it to GAC but he’s “not there yet”. We sure hope this status changes very soon!

Good Witch and its family oriented and inspirational theme is perfectly aligned with mission statement of the newly formed GAC network and fans have been constantly telling Bill this on social media almost 24/7! Campaign after campaign, idea after idea, we forge on day after day hoping to encourage Bill to fight as hard as we have to somehow find a way to #savegoodwitch and we will NOT stop until we see that wonderful announcement we all want to hear come out! It would be a dream come true and will solidify our support for GAC!

We believe as loyal #goodies that news of a Good Witch resurrection on GAC will cause a firestorm of support and excitement all over social media and will be a ratings magnet for GAC Family!

We can’t wait for this day to come and hope and pray it will come to pass so please Bill, if your are reading this, know how much this means to us and do whatever is needed to make this dream a reality! You will not be sorry! We promise!”

For #goodies and myself today was the second day in this 112 days 14 hours and 20 minutes that we have seen some light at the end of the tunnel and have at least some hope… The first one was when our dear Bill Abbott announced his new channel and we saw a new home and now that we know that at least he is aware of the show and loves it and will maybe want to keep sharing it at GAC.

As you know we are living a nightmare we can´t wake up from, the abrupt end of Good Witch was heartbreaking and ended with everything we believed in. But #goodies love Bill Abbott and we know he has a big heart and is a unique CEO who truly cares about his audience as he is proving it step by step he is taking in GAC.

The only thing we can keep doing is praying for him ro find a way to give us our light #GoodWitch back, day after day we close our eyes and pray for the good news to arrive. We truly see GAC as our new home, because it is a home and feels like it already. Their values align perfectly with what #goodies want and need on a channel, on a show because GAC values are the same as #GoodWItch ones, (family, friendship, trust, care about each other, happiness…) that is way we also think that our beloved #GoodWitch fits so perfectly with GAC, because the essence of the show are the values of the channel.

#GoodWitch has helped #Goodies so much, more than we could even try to put into words (as you already know) and the only thing we really want is to keep guiding us to a better world and to our own evolution of ourselves and making us better persons. But we also want more than anything that this magical inspiring show can get to more people, more houses… and change more lives for the better as it has changed us, because that is what it is all really about HELPING OTHER PEOPLE as Cassie Nightingale has taught us ‘That’s the real magic, helping other people.’

So we won’t give up, we will keep fighting for the light to come back and change this world that needs hope so much after everything that is happening… We will fight for our cast and crew because they are the ones who have made magic for 13 years, who have shared with us their soul and hearts, who have trusted us and had been there for us no matter what. Now it is our turn to be there for them and bring them where they belong TOGETHER AT GAC WITH BILL ABBOTT and we won’t stop until this happens.”

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