One of Hallmark Channel‘s go-to actresses has set her sights on a new basic cable home.
Danica McKellar, who has headlined more than a half-dozen “Countdown to Christmas” movies for Hallmark since 2015, is departing the network for a new competitor: GAC Family (fka Great American Country). Per Deadline, the Wonder Years vet has signed an exclusive deal with the cabler to star in and executive-produce four new films, beginning with The Winter Palace (premiering in January 2022).
McKellar’s GAC Family pact extends through 2023, meaning her most recent Hallmark movie — You, Me & the Christmas Trees, which premiered Oct. 22 — will be her last for the foreseeable future. (Her previous credits include 2015’s Crown for Christmas, 2016’s My Christmas Dream, 2017’s Coming Home for Christmas, 2018’s Christmas at Grand Valley, 2019’s Christmas at Dollywood and 2020’s Christmas She Wrote.)
It should be noted that the newly rebranded GAC Family is run by Bill Abbott, former CEO of Hallmark Channel’s parent company Crown Media Family Networks. Abbott left his longtime Crown Media post in January 2020 following Hallmark’s decision to stop airing a commercial featuring a same-sex wedding — a decision the network quickly reversed amid a sea of controversy.
GAC Family is already in business with a number of other Hallmark vets, including Lori Loughlin. The When Calls the Heart alum is set to return to acting (following a two-month prison sentence for her role in the infamous college admissions scandal) in the spinoff When Hope Calls, which is relocating from Hallmark Movies Now to GAC Family for Season 2 (watch promo).
In addition to Loughlin, former Home & Family hosts Cameron Mathison and Debbie Matenopoulos recently migrated to GAC Family, where they lorded over Welcome to the Great American Christmas, a Christmas special previewing the network’s inaugural slate of holiday films — a slate of originals headlined entirely by Hallmark grads, including Mathison, Susie Abromeit, Nick Bateman, Rukiya Bernard, Cindy Busby, Sara Canning, Dillon Casey, Torrance Coombs, Trevor Donovan, Brendan Fehr, Jennie Garth, Maggie Lawson, Jen Lilley, Sarah Lind, Daniel Lissing, Jessica Lowndes, Matthew MacCaull, Chad Michael Murray, Sam Page, Merritt Patterson, Christopher Russell, Becca Tobin, Jill Wagner and Dewshane Williams.
Will you be following McKellar over to GAC Family? And which other Hallmark vets do you suspect will follow her over to family friendly network’s newest competitor?