In this month's faith and family entertainment round-up, new cablenet GAC Family snags talent from its founder's former home, Hallmark Channel; Netflix stock takes a tumble after subscriber losses; and PBS documentarian Ken Burns examines the U.S. role in responding to the Holocaust.
GAC Family Seeks Hallmark's Crown
In January 2020, after an 11-year run, Bill Abbott departed his job as president of Hallmark Channel parent company Crown Media.
In June 2021, he formed part of a new ownership group that bought the former Great American Country channel, and equestrian channel Ride TV. In Sept., they were renamed GAC Family and GAC Living, respectively.
Immediately, Abbott moved to position GAC Family, the scripted sibling, as an alternative to Hallmark, which has been signaling a tone and content shift in its programming.
Abbott's goal seems to be to turn GAC Family into what Hallmark was during his tenure -- a safe space for family viewing, with perhaps even more of an emphasis on faith (something Hallmark films barely touch, if at all).
One sign of this was a recent deal GAC Media (parent of both channels) signed with Hallmark staple and public Christian Candance Cameron Bure, star of the Aurora Teagarden movies on Hallmark Mysteries and Movies, and nearly 30 Hallmark films.
She is set to develop, produce and star in movies and TV content across GAC Family and GAC Living.
Also, said Variety:
Bure will take on a prominent executive role at the company and help to curate programming for the networks.
As part of the deal, the actor will develop and produce original content through her Candy Rock Entertainment company. She will also create year-round seasonal celebration content and will have a large part in the company’s annual Great American Christmas.
In jumping to GAC Media, Bure joins former Hallmark stars Trevor Donovan, Danica McKellar, Jen Lilley and Jessica Lowndes.
Not everyone, though, has left Hallmark. Among those staying are Lacey Chabert, Taylor Cole and Holly Robinson Peete.
Netflix Hits the Wall
The streamer has become famous in Hollywood for spending lavishly -- on its splashy Sunset Blvd. headquarters, and on high-profile talent and productions -- and for growing faster than bamboo.
But all good things must come to an end, and it happened to Netflix during a first-quarter earnings report. For the first time in over a decade, it lost customers, shedding 200,000 subscribers during the quarter (instead of its hoped-for 2.5M net uptick).
According to TechCrunch:
And its losses are expected to continue, as Netflix forecasts a global paid subscriber loss of 2 million for the second quarter.
Netflix blamed subscriber losses on Russia and password-sharing, but whatever the reason, the company's stock hits its lowest point in five years.
Netflix does offer a wide variety of programming -- including, last year, a faith-based musical called A Week Away -- but other programming with edgier or "progressive" themes has upset more conservative subscribers.
Ken Burns Looks at 'The U.S. and the Holocaust'
From Sept. 18-20, 2021, PBS premieres The U.S. and the Holocaust, a three-part documentary from famed filmmaker Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein.
From the press release:
Inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources, the film examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. The series, written by Geoffrey Ward, sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe.
Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference.
Click here for more details.
Image: GAC Family, Hallmark Channel (logos)
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.