While Hallmark Channel is leaning into more inclusive storylines, Candace Cameron Bure and Great American Family are seemingly doing the opposite. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Bure, who exited Hallmark to join former CEO Bill Abbott at the new company earlier this year, opened up about her new role as chief creative officer.
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” she said about making the change. “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.”
Not only is Bure able star in her choice of films, but she’s also producing religious titles under the “Candace Cameron Bure Presents” banner. Still, the move has come with a great deal of controversy, with her telling WSJ that Hallmark is “basically is a completely different network than when I started because of the change of leadership.” (The network, in turn, commented, “We want all viewers to see themselves in our programming and everyone is welcome.”)
While Hallmark is doing a strong push for more LGBTQ+ storylines — their first original holiday movie focused on a same-sex couple debuts next month — that won’t be happening at Great American Family, Bure said.
“I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she said. Abbott added, “It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends. There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.’”
In September, Abbott and Bure spoke with variety about their plans to grow the network. When asked about including more diverse stories, Abbott explained, “Sometimes we’re not thought of by people who are really good at those storylines and so we have to go seek them… In growing this business, it’s much a much heavier lift than I ever thought. I knew it was going to be hard, but not this hard. And so, we’ll get there, but it’s not an overnight thing.”
He also stated that “over time” there will likely be opportunity to celebrate other faiths, rather than just Christianity and Christmas. “We don’t have the luxury of having 30 people in development being able to take meetings with a lot of different people. We take as many as we can, but time is limited in the day,” he added
“I think we know the core audience and what they love is exactly how Bill originally built the Hallmark Channel,” said Bure. “That was Christmas and those traditional holidays, so that’s what the focus is going to be. You’ve got to start somewhere. You can’t do everything at once.”