Candice Cameron-Bure, Lori Loughlin and Isabella Giannulli attend the Netflix Golden Globes after party at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California
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What is GAC Family? And Who Are the Hallmark Stars Joining the Network?

For years, the Hallmark Channel has been the dominant network for all things festive and holiday. Their annual Christmas films, which seem to air earlier each year, essentially wrote the playbook for feel-good holiday TV films that everyone from Lifetime to Netflix is now using. Though the network is known for maintaining the same roster of actors, a new competitor is entering the holiday movie ring — with many of the same actors. What exactly is the story with Great American Media and GAC Family?

What is GAC Family?

Back in 2020, former Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott stepped down from his position following some drama surrounding a commercial. Following initial backlash on running a commercial featuring a lesbian couple on their wedding day, he pulled the commercial and faced even more backlash, so he put it back up. Long story short, he ultimately stepped away from Hallmark, but the following year, he acquired GAC — Great American Country. As of 2022, he rebranded it to Great American Media which has been divided up into two different brands — Great American Living and Great American Family.

2021 was the first season where the network launched Christmas programming, and viewers were quick to note that a lot of their favorite Hallmark actors were appearing in their movies. Since then, Hallmark veterans have been signing exclusive contracts with either Hallmark or Great American Family, though some choose to double dip and appear on both. Here's everything you need to know about which stars are making the move to the new network and who might jump back and forth.

Hallmark Stars Moving to GAC Family


Jen Lilley

 Actor Jen Lilley attends Christmas Con 2022 at Pasadena Convention Center on August 06, 2022 in Pasadena, California

Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images

Another longtime favorite who has appeared in over ten films for Hallmark over the years, Jen Lilley signed a multi-picture deal to star in and produce four new movies for Great American Family over the next two years. Lilley also hosted the network's first Christmas in July event in 2022, adding some additional recognizable star power to the network alongside veterans Bure and McKellar.

Lori Loughlin

Actress Lori Loughlin is seen in Beverly Hills on June 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California

Paul Archuleta/GC Images

Longtime fans were disappointed when Hallmark cut ties with Lori Loughlin after years of starring in various films and her own mystery series following her college admissions scandal. Loughlin recently appeared in Great American Family's When Calls the Heart spinoff When Hope Calls in 2021. And it was recently announced that she landed her first movie role following the scandal, Fall Into Winter, which will premiere in Jan. 2023.

"Lori is a genre-defining star that I have had the honor to call a close friend and collaborator for more than 15 years," Great American Media President and CEO Bill Abbott said 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."

Jessica Lowndes

Actress Jessica Lowndes visits Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 01, 2019 in Universal City, California

Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Another actor to sign a multi-picture deal is Jessica Lowndes. She recently saw success on Great American Family with Harmony From The Heart, which she starred in, wrote, and executive produced. Now with her new deal, she'll be starring in, writing, directing and producing new original films for the network. Her latest film, I'm Glad It's Christmas, will premiere over Thanksgiving weekend.

Hallmark + Great American Media Double Dippers

As of now, there is a slew of stars you can expect to see on both networks, including Cameron Mathison, Cindy Busby, Sara Canning, Jennie Garth, Maggie Lawson, Sarah Lind, Daniel Lissing, Chad Michael Murray, Sam Page, Merritt Patterson, Christopher Russell, Becca Tobin, Jill Wagner and more.

Who's Staying With Hallmark?

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 06: Actor Lacey Chabert attends Christmas Con 2022 at Pasadena Convention Center on August 06, 2022 in Pasadena, California.

Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images

There are several Hallmark stars who'll be staying with the beloved channel. Holiday queen and Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert, who's starred in over 30 Hallmark flicks, signed an exclusive deal with Crown Media.

My experience at Hallmark, a home to me for over ten years now, has been wonderful and it's beyond rewarding to create characters and develop stories that resonate so strongly with viewers," Chabert said in a statement. "I'm also incredibly grateful to Crown's programming team for supporting me as a producer and empowering me to develop and star in projects that bring my passion and creative vision to life. I am so excited for what's next and to continue connecting with Hallmark's audience."

Jonathan Bennett

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Hallmark Media

Jonathan Bennett, who co-starred with Chabert in Mean Girls, is also staying put with Hallmark. Bennett, who starred in The Christmas House, Hallmark's first Christmas film with an LGBTQ+ storyline, signed an exclusive multi-picture deal with Crown Media.

"I am so proud of the work I have done in my Hallmark movies. Most recently with back-to-back GLAAD Media Award nominations for The Christmas House and The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls, Bennett said in a press statement. "I'm so fortunate and proud that Hallmark is a champion for representation. I can't wait for all that is ahead."


Luke Macfarlane

 Luke Macfarlane attends the Sydney premiere of Bros at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter on October 18, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.

Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Luke Macfarlane, who recently had a starring role in the 2022 rom-com Bros, signed a multi-picture deal with Hallmark earlier this year.

"I'm excited to be part of the joy that Hallmark brings to their viewers, not only for Christmas but to be able to participate in telling these heartfelt stories all year long," Macfarlane said. "I'm really grateful to have this opportunity."

Holly Robinson Peete

Actress Holly Robinson Peete attends a private party to celebrate receiving a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Beverly Hills at Private Residence on June 21, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.

Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images


Holly Robinson Peete, who starred in Hallmark's The Christmas Doctor and A Family Christmas Gift, is another familiar face who signed an exclusive deal for holiday movies with Crown Media.

"Hallmark is one of the most unique and warm destinations on television, especially at Christmas, and I am so proud of the projects that we have done together these past years," Robinson Peete said in a statement.  "I am thrilled to continue my work with them to collaborate on creating joyful and heartfelt movies, while highlighting special stories in which viewers can truly see themselves."



Other fan favorites with exclusive deals with Hallmark include Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights), Taylor Cole, Brennan Elliott and Heather Hemmens.




READ MORE: Hallmark Christmas Movies 2022: Everything You Need to Know About This Year's Lineup