Actress Candace Cameron Bure will serve as the creative director for the Great American Family network following her departure from the Hallmark Network.
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” Bure told The Wall Street Journal. “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, who rose to fame as a child while starring in the sitcom Full House, has spoken openly about her religion and the influence faith has on her professional choices. Her brother, Kirk Cameron, is also in the entertainment industry. He’s made a number of Christian films, including the anti-abortion movie Lifemark which came out in September.
She left the Hallmark Channel in April after 14 years, where she starred in dozens of Christmas movies. At the time, she said negotiation to renew her contract with Hallmark “didn’t work out.”
“It basically is a completely different network than when I started because of the change of leadership,” the actress said of Hallmark.
“And as every business person knows, you’ve got to do what’s right for contracts,” Bure said, per TODAY. “I’m very excited to develop heartwarming family and faith-filled programming and make the kind of stories my family and I love to watch… [Great American Country] fits my brand perfectly; we share a vision of creating compelling wholesome content for an audience who wants to watch programming for and with the whole family.”
GAF is led by the former chief executive officer of the Hallmark Channel, Bill Abbott, who departed Hallmark in 2020 one month after the network faced public backlash for pulling advertisements that depicted same-sex marriage. The advertisement for the wedding website service Zola featured a lesbian couple’s wedding.
Hallmark generates $500 million in advertisement revenue annually, in large part because of the popularity of its made-for-television Christmas movies.
Mike Perry, president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards, said the company “promised to work with an LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD, to better represent and include the community,” per NBC News.
Bure’s interview with the Wall Street Journal has indicated GAF will not include same-sex couples in its movies.
“I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” she said.
Abbott has said GAF will focus on a “soft faith” approach in its plot – “a Christian message he said is there for viewers who are looking for it but doesn’t aim to proselytize” mixed in with expected, seasonal tropes, per the Journal.
“It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends,” Abbott said when asked about featuring same-sex couples. “There’s no whiteboard that says, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’ll never go here.'”
Lori Loughlin, another Full House star, and Danica McKellar, of The Wonder Years, have also joined GAF.
Bure’s decision to leave Hallmark for the Great American Family network, a subsidiary of GAC, has been denounced by an LGBT organization as “harmful and insulting.”
“It’s irresponsible and hurtful for Candace Cameron Bure to use tradition as a guise for exclusion,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and president of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Bure is out of sync with a growing majority of people of faith, including LGBTQ people of faith, who know that LGBTQ couples and families are deserving of love and visibility.”
“If GAF’s plan is to intentionally exclude stories about LGBTQ couples, then actors, advertisers, cable and streaming platforms, and production companies should take note and seriously consider whether they want to be associated with a network that holds exclusion as one of its values,” Ellis added.