The new Hannah Swensen mystery A Zest for Death features an awkward reunion between Hannah and Mike. The couple, who broke off their engagement in the last Hannah Swensen movie, come face-to-face when they are — surprise! — investigating the same murder. “Hannah’s connection with Mike may be on a rough road, but a new […]
Debbie Matenopoulos, Cameron Mathison, and Lizzy Mathis among stars who will host new shows for Great American Media. The company, which was founded by former Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott, will introduce 15 new short-format shows this fall through the Great American Community app.
“We are thrilled to be launching Great American Community with fifteen new, always-on series that are topical, relatable and hosted by our growing family of recognizable talent,” said Abbott, president and CEO of Great American Media, in a statement to Deadline. “This new platform represents an important evolution of the company’s digital strategy and gives our passionate fans a fun and engaging new way to interact with our stars in a trusted, family-friendly environment, 365 days a year.”
New shows for Great American Media
TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos has already started releasing short videos on her Instagram account of recipes and fashion tips in preparation for the release of her series, The Modern Mom with Debbie Matenopoulos.
In recent videos, she showed fans how to make a summer salad and berry smoothie, and showed off her new pair of Doc Marten boots.
“I can’t believe I am going to say this next, but I recently bought myself a pair of Dr. Marten boots,” she wrote. “Yes…the kind we used to wear in high school. I don’t know what came over me, but the people who worked in the store got me all excited and I was feeling very nostalgic and slipped back into my 15 year old self.”
Her new show is similar to Home and Family, which she co-hosted with Cameron Mathison on Hallmark Channel. That series ran from April 2012 to August 2021. In a recent interview, Matenopoulos called her time on the show the best years of her life.
“With Home and Family, our job was to spread joy,” she told The Good Men Project. “Legitimately, my job every day for nine years was to go to work and make people smile. Not discuss politics, not discuss religion, but to just say, ‘Hey, how are you doing today? Spend the next two hours with me. We are going to bake a cake. We are going to talk about celebrities and their pet projects.”
Great American Community
Great American Media was launched in 2021 by Bill Abbott, who was president and CEO of Hallmark before departing the network in 2020. Great American runs two networks, Great American Family and Great American Living.
“We want to be the leader and family television,” Abbott said on a March episode of the Up Next with John Contratti. “We think that we’ve assembled a terrific team, not only at our networks, but also on the talent side; people who are well known to the audience and the audience loves.”
The company has already released a slate of movies starring actors such as Jen Lilley, Danica McKellar, and Trevor Donovan. But the channels aren’t available through all cable providers. The app will allow viewers access to Great American material even if they can’t watch the channels.
Hallmark’s Cameron Mathison recently opened up about his childhood battle with a rare degenerative bone disease. The actor and TV host posted five photos to his Instagram account that show him as a child wearing a leg brace and using crutches to walk.
“In honor or Rare Disease Day I’m posting about the rare degenerative bone disease I had as child: Legg Calve Perthes Disease,” he wrote.
Mathison said he was diagnosed as a child with the condition, which disrupts blood flow to the hip bones. He wore the brace — which allowed his femur bones to harden — around the clock for four years.
“The treatment has come a long way since then, but still so much to learn about this rare disease,” he wrote.
The actor has been open about other health issues. In 2019, he announced on the Hallmark Channel series Home and Family that doctors had discovered a cancerous growth on his right kidney.
“It’s a tumor that’s consistent with something called renal cell carcinoma,” he said as his co-host Debbie Matenopoulos looked on.
The cancer had not spread, and the tumor was surgically removed. In
In October 2021, he announced that he had been cancer-free for two years.
Dancing With the Stars
Mathison and his parents opened up about his struggle with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease during the actor’s 2009 appearance on Dancing With the Stars. In an interview with ABC, they said he was diagnosed after complaining about pain in one of his legs.
“I remember my mom coming out of the doctor’s office,” Mathison said. “She’d been crying. She was really fighting back the tears. And I knew — I really knew that something wasn’t OK.”
“Initially, it was difficult because everyone looked at him,” his father said. “And it became an emotional thing for him.”
Onward and upward
When the brace finally came off, Mathison picked up a love of skiing.
“I really probably went a little bit overboard to prove to myself and to prove to other people that’s not what I was or who I was,” he said. “Skiing became a really important sort of experience to kind of get out there and have all this freedom and movement.”
He eventually turned to acting, and landed bit parts on The Drew Carey Show and JAG before being cast as Ryan Laevery on General Hospital in 1998. He also starred in Hallmark movies and the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries series Murder, She Baked, alongside Alison Sweeney.
He joined Debbie Matenopoulos as co-host of the lifestyle series Home and Family in 2018, replacing Mark Steines. Hallmark canceled the series in 2021.