Hallmark Stars React to Actors’ Strike Ending: ‘Christmas Came Early!’

SAG-AFTRA strike over

Heavy/Getty/Hallmark SAG-AFTRA picket lines and Hallmark stars (from L to R) Holly Robinson Peete, Hunter King, Andrew Walker, Rushi Kota, Nikki DeLoach and Luke Macfarlane

After 118 days, the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement with the Hollywood studio heads known as AMPTP, effectively ending the actors’ strike. The work stoppage, which has kept many Hallmark actors from filming or promoting their movies, ended on November 9, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, per TV Insider.

The end of the SAG-AFTRA strike comes at a particularly important time for Hallmark, since its talent has not been able to conduct interviews or participate in promotions to spread the word about their 42 original movies premiering during Countdown to Christmas.

Many Hallmark favorites, from Brennan Elliott to Nikki DeLoach, have marched on the picket lines over the last three months. After SAG-AFTRA alerted its members late on November 8 that it had reached a deal, countless stars took to social media to express their relief and excitement.

Here’s what you need to know:

Hallmark Stars Celebrate End of Actors’ Strike via Social Media

On the evening of November 8, actress and negotiating committee member Frances Fisher, who has appeared in Hallmark’s popular “Mr. Darcy” movies, posted a photo of herself on social media. She stood in front of the SAG-AFTRA offices with her arms in the air, showcasing her joy and relief over the new deal. Many stars responded with gratitude.

On Instagram, “A Biltmore Christmas” star Kristoffer Polaha replied, “Thank you for your effort and tenacity!! History makers!!!”

Sharon Lawrence, who co-starred in Hallmark’s “Christmas House” movies, wrote, “Thank you dear lady!!!”

Other stars shared their own celebratory Instagram posts, including Holly Robinson-Peete, who shared a screenshot of Deadline’s article about the strike ending.

The actress wrote, “Ding Dong!!!!! I’ve been a @sagaftra member for 46 years 😨😨😨😨 Thank you to our union for fighting hard and standing strong for all of us🙏🏾💪🏾🎬🎭👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 #onedaystrongeronedaylonger”

“Unthinkably Good Things” star Joyful Drake also shared the Deadline article and wrote, “It’s been a long time coming!!!! We back outchea!!!! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾”

“Make Me a Match” star Rushi Kota posted an image of his own note of gratitude, which said, “A million thanks to the @sagaftra Negotiating committee for their tireless efforts. We know the pressure of the world was on you and you stuck it out and got us the best deal possible. Congratulations everyone! To fairness and equality. Let’s get back to doing what we love. 🤎”

Many Hallmark stars shared SAG-AFTRA’s Instagram post or articles about the deal in their Stories, along with celebratory emoji, including Janel Parrish, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Lacey Chabert, and “Ride” star Sara Garcia. Others added words of thanks and relief to their Stories.

Nikki DeLoach, who stars “A World Record Christmas” on November 16, shared a Los Angeles Times article about the strike deal and wrote, “CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY!!!”

“3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Ghost” star Julie Gonzalo posted SAG-AFTRA’s announcement and wrote, “Thank you for fighting so hard for us @sagaftra”

Evan Williams of Hallmark’s series “The Way Home” wrote in his Stories, “Thank god. What an ordeal. My heart goes out to all the crew members and related industry workers that have been stretched so thin as a result of the studios refusing to honor the value our membership provides. This was was NECESSARY for the future of the entire industry. Collective action works. We’ll stand beside you too. Interdependence is the way forward. On all fronts.”

Rachel Boston, who recently starred in Hallmark’s “Field Day,” shared an article in her Stories and wrote, “Yay!!!!!! Let’s get back to work, friends!!!”

On Twitter, Will Kemp, whose “A Not So Royal Christmas” premieres on December 2, re-posted SAG-AFTRA’s announcement and then tweeted, “Exciting things this way come! 🎬🎄😜🥳”

Many Hallmark Stars Supported the SAG-AFTRA Strike on the Picket Lines While Also Filming New Movies Under Waivers

Because Hallmark is not one of the large studios that makes up the AMPTP, like Disney and Netflix, and typically works with independent production companies, SAG-AFTRA provided waivers to many of the network’s projects. That allowed some of its actors to quietly keep filming, including the 11th season of “When Calls The Heart,” and multiple 2023 holiday movies.

But even if they were allowed to film future projects under the radar, many of Hallmark’s biggest names still took to the picket lines to show their support for the strike.

On October 26, Luke Macfarlane picketed with friend and “Modern Family” alum Jesse Tyler Ferguson. When he posted an Instagram photo from the day, he wrote that he earned his “SAG card” — or union membership — nearly 20 years ago, in the 2004 movie “Kinsey.”

Erin Cahill, whose “Christmas on Cherry Lane” premieres on December 9, shared multiple posts from the picket lines in Los Angeles. They included a montage of photos on July 15 and another when she marched with friends, including Hallmark actress Sarah Drew, on September 13.

Andrew Walker, who stars in “Christmas Island” on November 11, shared photos from the picket lines on September 15, calling it an “electric day.”

“It was a beautiful show of faces supporting each other during this difficult time for everyone in our industry,” he wrote. “Love my artists, my community of performers and storytellers. We shouldn’t still be waiting for an agreement to be reached, but we are and we remain strong. 💪”

In July, Rachel Boston picketed while carrying carrying her infant daughter, Aimee Teagarden shared pics in her Stories of herself with friends on the picket lines, and Hunter King also shared photos in her Stories of herself protesting with her sister, Joey King, “Haul Out the Holly” actress Eliza Hayes Maher, and Brianne Tju.

Describing the three-year deal it reached via an email to members, per Variety, the union’s leadership said, “We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.”

Full details of the agreement, which Variety reported include compensation for streamed content and protections from artificial intelligence (AI), are expected to be released after the SAG-AFTRA national board approves it on November 10.

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