Why Luke MacFarlane Will Always Feel Grateful For Hallmark

Many will recognize Luke MacFarlane from his recurring role as Scotty Wandell in the 2006 drama series "Brothers and Sisters," but avid Hallmark viewers will know the actor from the more than 10 feel-good made-for-TV movies he's starred in. Since debuting on the network in 2014, the actor has led fan-favorite flicks such as "Taking a Shot at Love," "Chateau Christmas," and "Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle."

As the leading man in these heterosexual love stories, Hallmark audiences might not realize that MacFarlane isn't actually a straight man himself. The actor came out publicly in 2008, sharing with Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that he is a gay man. Regardless of his sexuality, Hallmark has offered MacFarlane consistent roles on the channel.

Since he has recently experienced an uptick in acting opportunities, especially since starring alongside Billy Eichner in the LGBTQIA+ romcom "Bros," the actor previously hinted that he might be taking a hiatus from Hallmark. Even so, MacFarlane emphasizes that he'll always be grateful for the work and stability Hallmark provided, supporting him in coming out publicly when others were passing him over.

Hallmark provided stability for Luke MacFarlane after coming out

Though Luke MacFarlane aimed to stay true to himself by coming out to the public, it was a revelation that undoubtedly affected his career. "I came out in 2008 and I think that freaked out a lot of people that might offer me jobs," MacFarlane told Variety.

Though it's unknown just exactly how much his sexuality influenced his career opportunities, his co-star Billy Eichner is confident in its effect. "No one calls you and says, 'We found out you're gay so we're not casting you,'" the actor told Vanity Fair. "But my gut feeling is that he didn't get nearly the amount of opportunities that he should have and that he deserved [what] a straight actor with his look and his qualifications and his training and his exposure was getting at the time."

Even so, Hallmark was a place where MacFarlane was able to consistently find work. "Hallmark gave me jobs for a long time. And not only just the gay best friend — they let me be a leading man. I'm always going to be very grateful to them for that," he shared with Variety.

Luke MacFarlane has been pursuing opportunities outside of Hallmark

As mentioned, Luke MacFarlane has been experiencing a surge in acting opportunities, which has taken his career outside of the Hallmark sphere. Not only did he star alongside Billy Eichner in the Hollywood romcom "Bros," but he also landed a major role in the Apple TV+ comedy series "Platonic," something he had to turn down a small part in "Barbie" for.

Even so, the actor isn't leaving the Hallmark channel for good. Though he previously expressed to the LA Times that he felt his time with the network had ended, he announced his agreement to shoot an additional Christmas movie afterward. "Hallmark has been very good to me, and I have agreed to do a Christmas movie for them this year," he told The Hollywood Reporter in a July 2023 interview.

MacFarlane has also commented on the network's strides toward LGBTQIA+ inclusion in their content. "Hallmark is absolutely making efforts to create queer content, and I applaud them for that," he shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "They've been often the butt of jokes about the sort of limited nature of their cast, but they've really changed that, and they're really continuing to do that."