While the Hallmark Channel leans toward more inclusive stories, Candace Cameron Bure and Great American Family seem to be doing the opposite. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Bure, who left Hallmark to join former CEO Bill Abbott at the new company earlier this year, opened up about his new role as chief creative officer.
“My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” he said of making the change. “I knew that the people behind America’s Greatest Family were Christians who loved the Lord and wanted to promote programs of faith and good family entertainment.”
Not only does Bure star in her own choice of films, but she also produces cult titles under the banner “Candace Cameron Bure Presents”. Still, the move has come with considerable controversy, as he told the WSJ that Hallmark is “fundamentally a completely different network than when I started because of the leadership change.” (The network, for its part, commented, “We want all viewers to see themselves in our program and everyone is welcome.”)
While Hallmark is working hard to find more LGBTQ+ stories — their first holiday movie featured the debut of a same-sex couple next month — that’s not going to happen on Great American Family, Bure said.
“I think America’s Greatest Family will keep traditional marriage at the core,” he said. Abbott added, “It’s definitely 2022, so we know the trends. There’s no whiteboard saying, ‘Yes, this’ or ‘No, we’re never going here.'”
In September, Abbott and Bure spoke to Different about their plans to develop the network. When asked about incorporating so many different stories, Abbott explained, “Sometimes we don’t think of people who are good at those stories and so we have to go find them… In growing this business, it’s a lot more heavy lifting than I ever thought. I knew it was going to be difficult, but it’s not very difficult. And so, we will get there, but not overnight.
He also said that “after some time” there will probably be an opportunity to celebrate other faiths, instead of only Christianity and Christmas. “We don’t have the luxury of having 30 people in development to be able to take meetings with different people. We take as many as we can, but time is limited per day,” he added
“I think we know the core audience and what they love is the way Bill built the Hallmark Channel,” Bure said. “That was Christmas and the traditional holidays, so that’s what the trend is going to be. You have to start somewhere. You can’t do everything at once.”