While the Hallmark Channel is still the reigning leader in feel-good holiday flicks and rom-coms, Great American Family (formerly known as GAC Family) has been making waves since it launched in September 2021.
The cable channel first caught the eye of Christmas movie fans after it announced that several of the latter network’s stars would be making the jump over to Great American Family, including Danica McKellar and Trevor Donovan, who signed on in October 2021. In April 2022, GAC Media revealed that Candace Cameron Bure, who previously starred in more than 25 Hallmark movies, had signed a deal to develop, executive produce and star in content for their networks.
On Oct. 6, 2022, Great American Family announced it would release 18 original Christmas movies for the holiday season, with air dates starting on Oct. 22. The lineup included Destined at Christmas, Catering Christmas and A Royal Christmas on Ice. Shortly after, the network made headlines again after Cameron Bure said it does not plan to feature same-sex couples in its Christmas movies.
Here’s everything to know about Great American Family, from which stars have left Hallmark for the channel to the backlash surrounding Bure’s recent comments. Great American Family, formerly GAC Family, is a cable television channel known for producing holiday programming and made-for-TV movies. The channel was created by GAC Media, which acquired the Great American Country network in June 2021, aiming to use the platform to create family-friendly content. This seemed natural for the media company, which is led by the former CEO of Crown Media Family Networks (the parent company of Hallmark Channel), Bill Abbott.
Great American Country was rebranded as GAC Family and soon began producing original Christmas programming such as My Angel’s Christmas List, starring Chad Michael Murray and Jessica Lowndes, and A Lot Like Christmas, starring Maggie Lawson and Christopher Russell. The network also produced season 2 of When Hope Calls, a spinoff of When Calls the Heart, which was previously on the Hallmark Channel. At the same time, GAC Media also acquired Ride TV, which it renamed GAC Living, to serve as the companion to GAC Family and produce unscripted lifestyle programming.
In July 2022, the company announced that GAC Family and GAC Living would be renamed Great American Family and Great American Living. In a press release, Abbott explained, “As the company expands across different media verticals, renaming our linear networks Great American Family and Great American Living better reflects our vision for each brand and firmly aligns the company under our new Great American Media umbrella.”