Why Are Multiple Hallmark Stars Leaving To Join Great American Family? Here's What We Know

For decades, the Hallmark Channel has been the premiere network for television movies. While Lifetime has been the company's biggest rival, Hallmark still takes the cake with viewership, especially during their infamous holiday movie season.

While some viewers may find the content of Hallmark movies a bit cheesy, there is a reason why the network has been such a powerhouse. They are feel-good films with happy endings that can give you the boost you need if you are feeling down. Lauren Cook, a marriage and family therapist, told Cafe Mom, "Hallmark movies often feature an idealized story that still feels believable. They showcase the best that humanity can be." She added, "Conflict is resolved, compassion and kindness are encouraged, and resolution is present."

Over the last year, the Hallmark Channel has lost some of its biggest names. The real reason stars like Candace Cameron Bure left the network is to go to the company's biggest rival, the Great American Family channel. Here's what we know about the new network and the stars leaving Hallmark for it.

Hallmark and the Great American Family network have one major thing in common

The Great American Family Network has become a serious rival to the Hallmark Channel. The reason the new programming giant has been able to swoop up several Hallmark actors and create similar-feeling movies may surprise you. The company was purchased by Hallmark's former CEO, Bill Abbott, who stepped down from the gig after a bit of a controversy.

After Hallmark aired a commercial that showed two women kissing, conservative groups were in an uproar. Abbott decided to pull the commercial but faced even more backlash for featuring mostly white, straight characters in the network's films. Eventually, Hallmark reinstated the commercial, but the CEO began firing back about the lack of diversity in their movies, arguing that the channel did, indeed, feature characters of different races and backgrounds.

He bid the network farewell in early 2020 and acquired the company he has since rebranded as the Great American Family Network. In the process, he was able to sway a few of Hallmark's leading stars to join him on the new platform.

Bure is not the only major Hallmark star to join the new network

When Bill Abbott began producing content for the Great American Family Network, he brought a few of the Hallmark Channel's biggest names with him. Most notably, Candace Cameron Bure, the undisputed queen of Hallmark movies, decided to leave the network to join Abbott.

According to Bure, she left the network to pursue more "family-friendly" programming. She told The Wall Street Journal, "My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them." She continued, "I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment."

Bure is not the only Hallmark actor who has made the jump from the network to the Great American Family. Bure's "Full House" co-star, Lori Loughlin, made the move to the new channel after Hallmark dropped the actress following her legal trouble. Other stars who will be taking on roles with GAF include Cameron Mathison, Debbie Matenopoulos, 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.