Actress Candace Cameron Bure says in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that she doesn’t expect her new network, Great American Family, to follow Hallmark’s lead in featuring same-sex couples.
Cameron Bure, known mostly for her role as DJ Tanner on the television sitcom Full House, has starred in 30 Hallmark movies, 10 of which were Christmas films. Many of her fans were surprised when she announced last April that she was leaving Hallmark Media to develop, produce, and star in projects for her new, traditional family-oriented network. The new network is an upstart cable channel that is positioning itself as the God-and-country alternative for holiday entertainment.
When the Wall Street Journal asked Bure if Great American Family would include gay couples as plot leads, she said: “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”
Bure’s comments, which drew ridicule from some in the industry, come as Hallmark prepares to break new ground with its first-ever movie featuring a same-sex storyline as the focus of the plot.
Great American Family has embraced the faith community, Bure said. A song by Christian singer Matthew West, titled “Come Home for Christmas,” is the theme song for the Great American Christmas event.
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” Bure, an outspoken Christian, 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.”
Great American Family is featuring 18 original Christmas movies this holiday season as part of its annual “Great American Christmas” event. One of those films, “A Christmas … Present,” features Bure and actor Marc Blucas.
Christmas movies on the small screen represent a booming business generating at least $500 million in ad revenue each year, The Wall Street Journal says. These days, the genre that Hallmark pioneered is everywhere, from major streaming platforms like Netflix to more niche channels like the Food Network and HGTV. While the movies may differ, most share an abiding reluctance to dwell on Christianity.
Great American Family enters the scene with the opposite point of view. With a name that conjures up traditional values and content that embraces faith, the channel is presenting itself as the choice for Christians who think Hollywood is ruining Christmas. Bure serves as its face.
“Spiritual or faith-based content is grossly underserved,” said Bill Abbott, chief executive of Great American Media. When he discussed his channel on a podcast from the lifestyle site Family Savvy recently, he referred to the entertainment business as “a sewer.”
Bure’s channel-switch is not without risks, the Journal says. The small network isn’t included in many basic cable packages, and it lacks an exclusive streaming platform. Its prime-time audience is a fraction of Hallmark’s, drawing roughly 333,000 live total viewers for last month’s premiere of “Destined at Christmas” compared with 1.89 million who tuned in for Hallmark’s “We Wish You a Married Christmas” the same night.
Great American Family was launched in 2021 by former Hallmark executive Bill Abbott and is available on major cable and satellite outlets as well as on streaming platforms such as FRNDLY.
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