Tag: Great American Media

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the head of Great American Media says the network has no specific plan to exclude same-sex story lines from the movies it produces.

“It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends,” said Bill Abbott. “There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.’”

For now, Great American Family movies feature heterosexual romantic story lines, often with romance coming in a distant second to spiritual and personal growth.

In her new movie for Great American Family, Candace Cameron Bure says she is trying to get away from some of the tropes that have come to define Christmas rom-coms.

“My own kids have said, ‘Mom, are you leaving the big city and going to the farm, meeting the love of your life?’” Bure said. “Those are all fun things that we love, but we see over and over and over.

Great American Media

In recent years, Hallmark has made a push to include same-sex couples in some of its movies and television shows. Both The Christmas House and The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls featured a same sex couple played by Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder. In the series finale of the popular show Good Witch, one of the show’s main characters shared a same-sex kiss with a new love interest.

In The Christmas House and The Christmas House 2, Hallmark featured same-sex story lines.
The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls. (Image: Hallmark Media)

Hallmark executives have said they want all audiences to feel represented in their programming.

While some fans have welcomed the changes, others have accused the company of going “woke for profit.”

Change of focus

The focus of the story in Bure’s new film for the network, A Christmas…Present, is the main character’s spiritual reawakening. Bure plays Maggie, a married mother of two who goes to visit her recently widowed brother, Paul. Though she is expecting to find Paul grief-stricken and depressed, she finds he has coped well with the loss because of his Christian faith. Maggie comes away from the experience with a renewed love of God and an appreciation for her many blessings.

While not all of the movies will have such a religious focus, many will include messages of faith, hope, and family.

“Spiritual or faith-based content is grossly underserved,” Abbott said in an interview, a sentiment echoed by Bure.

“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” Bure said.

Bure’s first film for Great American Family, A Christmas…Present, will premiere on Sunday, November 27 at 8/7c.


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.


Christmas University is back and offering the prize to beat all prizes: dinner with Paul Greene, Lacey Chabert, Andrew Walker, and Jen Lilley. The “Ultimate Christmas Experience,” as the prize is listed, includes a trip to Hollywood, a Balsam Hill Christmas tree, dinner with Greene, Chabert, Walker, and Lilley, and VIP tickets to Christmas Con.

Other prizes include a trip to an Arizona spa, a stay at the Cheerful Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and a ski vacation in the Rockies. Each prize includes a chance to meet Hallmark stars such as Cindy Busby, Danica McKellar, and Trevor Donovan.

“LET’S GET TO OUR GOAL OF 25,000 TOYS for children in need this Christmas,” wrote Lilley on her Instagram page. “GIVE and get entered to WIN the Ultimate Christmas including a trip to meet your favorite Christmas movie stars!!”

Christmas is not Cancelled

Christmas University is an event sponsored by Christmas is not Cancelled, a charity founded by Jen Lilley and her friend Ale Boggiano during the pandemic as a way to help children in need.

The organization solicits and compiles donations for Toys for Tots, Child Help Village, and The Global Orphan Project.

The causes are near and dear to Lilley’s heart. She and her husband have four children, two of whom were adopted out of the foster care system with the aid of Child Help. During an appearance on the Fostering Change podcast with Rob Scheer, Lilley talked about how important it is to support organizations that help these children.

“…Children who are experiencing foster care often aren’t always in the best home situation,” she said. “Ninety percent of children who go through foster care have changed schools five times by fifth grade and so I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to continue my education. We came together and we’re doing it again this summer to give these children the school supplies that they need to have a successful school year, to set them up with quality school supplies, not hand-me-downs, brand new things to let them know that we see them like every other child.”

Win a dinner with Paul Greene, Lacey Chabert, Andrew Walker, and Jen Lilley at Christmas University
Jen Lilley with Great American Media co-stars Candace Cameron Bure, Andrea Barber, and Lori Loughlin. (Image: Instagram/@jen_lilley)

Lilley rose to fame on the soap operas General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, before appearing in the Hallmark movies Harvest Love (2017), Mingle All the Way (2018), and A Little Daytime Drama (2021).

The actress recently signed a four-picture deal with Great American Media, the company founded by former Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott.

“Aside from being an immensely talented and hardworking actor, Jen is a generous and kindhearted person who is a perfect fit for GAC,” Abbott said in a statement to Deadline. “Many of us on the GAC team have known Jen for years, and we are excited to welcome her to the family as we work together to bring even more entertaining movies to our fans.”

Christmas University

This year, Christmas is not Cancelled is offering online classes with celebrities and experts on everything from painting your own Christmas cards to making Christmas cookies from around the world.

Fans can also watch Hallmark celebrities compete in Ugly Christmas Sweater competitions and an evening of Don’t Forget the Lyrics with celebrities singing Christmas carols.

Check out Christmas is not Cancelled for all the details.


Danica McKellar, Jill Wagner, and Trevor Donovan are among the celebrities set to launch new shows on Great American Community, a new app from Great American Media.

“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 Bill Abbott, President and CEO of Great American Media in a statement. “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.”

Great American Media

Great American Media was launched in June 2021 by Abbott, who left his position as CEO of Hallmark Media — then called Crown Media Family Networks — in 2020. The company purchased two cable networks and began showing content in September 2021.

Hallmark stars including Jen Lilley, Danica McKellar, and Trevor Donovan signed on to make movies for the new network. Candace Cameron Bure shocked fans when she announced she would also produce and star in content for Great American Media. Last week, Abbott announced that Lori Loughlin would star in a movie for the network.

Too much of today's TV content is salacious, says Bill Abbott, former CEO of Crown Media
Bill Abbott (Image: Great American Media)

“Lori is a genre-defining star that I have had the honor to call a close friend and collaborator for more than 15 years,” said Great American Media CEO Bill Abbott in a statement. “We have a shared vision for creating meaningful and memorable movies that resonate with our passionate fans, and I look forward to welcoming her back to Great American Family to anchor our 2023 winter programming slate.”

Fifteen new shows

Here is a list of the new shows, along with a brief description provided by Great American Media:

The Modern Mom with Debbie Matenopoulos featuring TV presenter and talk show host, Debbie Matenopoulos (Home & Family, The View). Every week, Debbie shares recipes and fashion and beauty advice she has learned during her two-decade career. (Mondays and Fridays)

Giving & Caring With Larissa Wohl features segments with weekly animal adoptions, shelter spotlights, and features about everyday people who do extraordinary things. (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays)

Affordably Fabulous with Lauren Makk — Interior design expert Makk will share tricks and tips to achieve a fabulous life on a budget. (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Beauty and Blessings with Kym Douglas — Beauty expert Kym Douglas offers beauty and skincare tips, fashion advice, devotionals, and ways to feel your most beautiful from the inside out. (Wednesdays and Sundays)

Eden Living with Shirley Bovshow — Landscape artist Bovshow shares tips for caring for plants and flowers in your garden. (Thursdays and Saturdays)

Everyday Celebrations with Maria Provenzano — Celebrity baker and chef Maria Provenzano shares how to bake, cook delicious recipes, and craft for the everyday celebrations in your life. (Wednesdays and Fridays)

A Beautiful Life with Lawrence Zarian — Author Lawrence Zarian shares stories from his podcast “to uplift and inspire women through fashion.” (Mondays and Fridays)

All Things Cool with Lizzy Mathis features lifestyle expert Lizzy Mathis, founder of The Cool Mom Co. who reminds moms to put themselves first, reignite personal passions, and keep bringing that cool to motherhood. (Fridays and Sundays)

The Sweet Life with Emily Hutchinson — Emily Hutchinson teaches viewers how to bake delicious and eye-catching creations. (Tuesdays and Saturdays)

Southern Savvy with Jamie Tarence — Southern chef, author, and podcast host, Jamie Tarence shares all things Southern living, from cooking and baking to fashion and beauty. (Mondays and Thursdays).

The Mindful Life with Mahaila McKellar — Certified meditation teacher McKellar shares her knowledge on bringing positivity and mindfulness to stress-filled days. (Tuesdays and Saturdays)

The Good Life with Cameron Mathison — Mathison shares his knowledge about creating a healthier life from the inside out. (Tuesdays and Sundays)

Bits of Joy with Danica McKellar — McKellar, who loves being positive and helping others, shares Bible Bits, Healthy Bits, and Math Bits. (Mondays and Thursdays)

Farm and Family with Jill Wagner — Wagner gives a glimpse into her life living on a farm in Nashville, including tours of her property, working out, family life, and Soulful Sundays. (Wednesdays and Sundays)

Everyday Adventures with Trevor Donovan — Donovan, lover of acting, his dogs, and adventure, shares his life and everyday adventures that bring him joy. (Wednesdays and Saturdays).


Former Hallmark star Lori Loughlin returns to TV in January in a new movie for Great American Media. The When Calls the Heart star will headline Fall Into Winter for the new network, which was started by Hallmark’s former CEO.

“Lori is a genre-defining star that I have had the honor to call a close friend and collaborator for more than 15 years,” said Great American Media CEO Bill Abbott in a statement. “We have a shared vision for creating meaningful and memorable movies that resonate with our passionate fans, and I look forward to welcoming her back to Great American Family to anchor our 2023 winter programming slate.”

Lori Loughlin returns

Loughlin has largely been absent from the small screen following her involvement in a college admissions bribery scandal. In March of 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts charged 50 people with falsifying their children’s test scores and athletic abilities to gain admission to top universities. Both Loughlin and her husband, J. Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty to charges of wire and mail fraud. She served two months in prison, paid a $150,000 fine, and was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service.

Following her star role on the ABC sitcom Full House, Loughlin starred as widow Abigail Stanton on the popular Hallmark series When Calls the Heart for five seasons. She was in the middle of shooting Season 6 when news of the scandal broke. The show took a month-long hiatus as writers and producers decided what to do with her character. They eventually wrote her out of the show.

But series co-creator Brian Bird later said he would love to bring Lori back.

“If anyone should return to Hope Valley, it should be Abigail,” he said in a June 2021 interview.

He got his wish in a roundabout way. In December 2021, Loughlin played Stanton in a Christmas special for When Hope Calls, a spinoff series of When Calls the Heart. The special was produced not by Hallmark but by Great American Family.

‘America’s Sweetheart’

Great American Media was founded by Abbott following his departure from Hallmark Media in 2020. The company launched two new channels, Great American Family and Great American Living.

The company has already produced more than a dozen made-for-TV romantic comedies and has many more in the works.

Fall Into Winter is slated for a January premiere. In the movie, Loughlin plays Keely, who is aghast when her brother sells his half of their family-owned, upscale candy shop to his best friend from high school, Brooks. Keely and Brooks have never been able to get along, but they are forced to work together in order to save the business. It’s possible romantic sparks will fly.

In an interview with Variety, Abbott called Loughlin “America’s sweetheart.”

“At the end of the day, she represents all that is positive about entertainment, and has had a stellar career,” he said. “Not only on screen, but also the way she’s conducted herself personally, in terms of being someone who has a track record of doing the right thing in the world at large, aside from whatever happened. I don’t know the details. She’s beloved and for good reason.”


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.

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