Quite a few Hallmark stars are now also working with the new TV network, GAC Family. The network was launched in late September by Bill Abbott, who was previously the CEO of Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel. While most of the actors are still free to work with both GAC and Hallmark, at least one has signed an exclusive deal.
Most of the Hallmark stars’ new movies can be watched on the Peacock streaming service after they’ve premiered on TV.
Danica McKellar Signed an Exclusive Deal with GAC Family
As Heavy previously reported, Danica McKellar has signed an exclusive two-year deal with GAC Family.
A GAC Media representative confirmed with Heavy that this exclusive deal means McKellar will only make rom-coms and holiday films for GAC Family during the term of her contract. The press release noted that the contract lasts through 2023. It’s not clear if her mystery movie series with Hallmark is covered by this exclusive deal or not.
McKellar and Tamera Mowry-Housley hosted the 2021 Christmas preview special on Hallmark in October. McKellar’s new movie, “You, Me & the Christmas Trees,” launched Hallmark’s 2021 Countdown to Christmas event on October 22.
Her first project will be a new movie called “The Winter Palace,” which will premiere on GAC Family on January 22, 2022. She will also executive produce the movie.
Trevor Donovan & Merritt Patterson Starred in a Movie
Trevor Donovan & Merritt Patterson starred in the new “Jingle Bell Princess” movie, which premiered on November 28 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Donovan also starred in “Nantucket Noel” on Hallmark on November 19 and Patterson starred in “Gingerbread Miracle” on Hallmark on November 5.
Donovan is doing more than just starring in a holiday movie with GAC Family. He’s signed a contract with them that involves starring in and executive producing movies for GAC Family, Country Music Alley reported.
Abbott tweeted that they have an expanded partnership with Donovan and will be spotlighting his efforts in preventing bullying.
Susie Abromeit Signed a Deal with GAC Family & Starred in a Movie with Torrance Coombs
Susie Abromeit is one of the stars we’ll see more frequently on GAC Family. She signed a deal to star in four original movies and to host GAC Family’s Original Movie Nights, Deadline reported.
She also starred in “Much Ado About Christmas,” which launched GAC’s lineup of 12 Christmas movies. The movie was directed by Michael Damian, who directed Hallmark’s “Christmas Waltz.”
She starred opposite Torrance Coombs, who also starred in Hallmark’s “Romance in the Air” opposite Cindy Busby, along with “Royally Ever After.”
On Hallmark, she starred in “A Perfect Christmas” and was a guest on “Home & Family.”
Cameron Mathison Starred in a Movie & Hosted a Christmas Preview Special
Cameron Mathison starred with Jennie Garth in the GAC Family movie “A Kindhearted Christmas” on November 20 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Mathison also hosted GAC Family’s Christmas preview special in October. Mathison previously co-hosted Hallmark’s “Home & Family” before the series was canceled earlier this year. He also frequently appeared in Hallmark movies.
Debbie Matenopoulos Hosted the Christmas Special
Debbie Matenopolous hosted GAC Family’s Christmas preview special in October with Mathison. She also previously hosted Hallmark’s “Home & Family” series with Mathison before it was canceled earlier in 2021.
Daniel Lissing Starred in a Movie & a Series
Daniel Lissing’s character, Jack, was killed off “When Calls the Heart” and he’s only starred in one movie on the Hallmark network since. In a podcast with Paul Greene, who plays Carson on “When Calls the Heart,” Lissing admitted that everyone thought he was crazy when he chose to leave the series.
He said, in part: “I’ve got a very clear vision of what I want to do, how I want to do it, and the path that I choose to be on in this life… Man, I just loved playing Jack. I really, really did. If there was ever an opportunity to do anything again, I would not be opposed to it. But…in life, you’ve just got to make the decisions… OK what’s my purpose? What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? What path do I want to be on? And how do I get there? … And so, super tough decision to walk away, as a lead actor of a television show in America…”
Lissing briefly revived the character of Jack for season 2 episode 2 of “When Hope Calls.” The “When Calls the Heart” spinoff has moved from Hallmark to GAC Family.
Part 1 aired on Saturday, December 18, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. Part 2 aired immediately after Part 1 on Saturday, December 18, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.
He also starred in “A Christmas Star” on GAC Media opposite Sara Canning. That movie premiered on December 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Lori Loughlin Starred in a Series
Lori Loughlin was one of the main stars of Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart,” along with leading the “Garage Sale Mysteries” series. Hallmark parted ways with her after the college admissions scandal.
Now, Loughlin starred in the two-part Christmas special, “When Hope Calls,” on GAC Family. You can watch a clip of her new role in Heavy’s story here.
Hallmark, in the meantime, has made it clear that they have no plans to bring Loughlin back into the fold. The official Hallmark Twitter account tweeted: “Hallmark Channel has not cast Lori Loughlin in any current projects, nor do we have any plans to cast her in the future. She was cast by GAC Family, a wholly separate cable network not affiliated with Hallmark Channel or Crown Media Family Networks.”
Sarah Lind & Dillon Casey Starred in a Movie
Sarah Lind, Dillon Casey, Jon McLaren, and Gabriel Darku starred in “The Great Christmas Switch,” which premiered on November 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern on GAC Family.
Lind starred in the “Martha’s Vineyard Mystery” series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Casey can be seen in Hallmark’s “A Perfect Christmas.”
Rukiya Bernard & Dewshane Williams Starred in a Movie
Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams starred in “Christmas Time Is Here,” which premiered on November 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Bernard starred in Hallmark’s “Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing” and in “Hearts of Winter.” They can both be seen in the “One Winter Proposal” series of movies.
Bernard had her first role as a Hallmark movie lead last year when she starred in “Christmas in Evergreen 4.” At the time she wrote about the opportunity on Instagram.
Jessica Lowndes & Chad Michael Murray Starred in a Christmas Movie
Jessica Lowndes and Chad Michael Murray have both starred in a series of Hallmark movies. They just starred together in “My Angel’s Christmas List” on GAC Family on November 26 at 8 p.m. Eastern. They both also headlined “An Autumn Romance,” which has already aired on GAC Family.
Jen Lilley & Brendan Fehr Starred in a Movie
Jen Lilley starred in a GAC Family movie called “Royally Wrapped for Christmas” on November 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Her many Hallmark movies include “A Little Daytime Drama,” “Love Unleashed,” “Snowkissed,” “USS Christmas,” “Mingle All the Way,” and more. Fehr starred in Hallmark’s “Entertaining Christmas.”
Becca Tobin & Matthew MacCaull Starred in a Movie
Becca Tobin and Matthew MacCaull starred in “Christmas Is You” on GAC Family on November 28 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Maggie Lawson & Christopher Russell Starred in a Movie
Maggie Lawson and Christopher Russell starred in “A Lot Like Christmas” on December 5 at 8 p.m. Eastern on GAC Family.
She starred in Hallmark’s “Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy,” “The Story of Us,” “Christmas Encore,” and more. Russell has also appeared in a series of Hallmark movies, including “Love Unleashed,” “Nature of Love,” “High Flying Romance,” “Love in the Forecast,” and “Chasing Waterfalls.”
Jill Wagner & Nick Bateman Starred in a Movie
Jill Wagner and Nick Bateman starred in “A Christmas Miracle for Daisy” on December 11 at 8 p.m. Eastern on GAC Family.
Wagner has starred in many Hallmark films, including the “Mystery 101” series, “Hearts of Winter,” “The Angel Tree,” “Christmas Wishes & Mistletoe Kisses,” and more. Bateman starred in “A Brush with Love” and has appeared on “Home & Family.”
The ‘When Hope Calls’ Cast Also Joined GAC Family
Many people who were in the original “When Hope Calls” cast returned for season 2, which launched with a two-part Christmas special on December 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern on GAC Family.
People who returned included Morgan Kohan and Ryan-James Hatanaka. However, Jocelyn Hudon — who also played in the lead opposite Kohan — did not return for season 2.
Cindy Busby & Sam Page Starred in a Movie
Cindy Busby and Sam Page closed out GAC Family’s holiday season with “Joy for Christmas” on December 19 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Busby and Kevin McGarry’s movie “Autumn Stables” also airs encores sometimes on GAC, but it’s a movie that was produced in the past and was not made specifically for GAC Family.
Busby has starred in Hallmark’s “Hearts Down Under,” “Romance in the Air,” “Love in the Forecast,” “Chasing Waterfalls,” “A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love,” “Follow Me to Daisy Hills,” “Wedding March 5,” “Hailey Dean Mysteries,” and more. Page has starred in Hallmark’s “Walking the Dog” and more.
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