Hallmark fans are confused by the various actor contracts that Hallmark and Great American Family have announced. Can actors still work for both networks?
This is what we know.
Is A Hallmark Or GAF Contract An All Or Nothing Deal?
Over the weekend, one Hallmark fan posted on the Hallmark Movies Reddit thread a question about the contracts Hallmark and Great American Family stars signed. They wrote, “Is signing to Hallmark or GMAC [Great American Media], an all or nothing deal?? Can actors be signed to movies on both networks but some, like [Candace Cameron] Bure, are doing exclusively GMAC or Lacey Chabert doing exclusively Hallmark?”
The short answer is that it depends on the deal. That is because in Hallmark world they offer both. When they say “exclusive” the actors are exclusive and cannot go to other places for a specific type of genre, usually rom-coms. When they say “multi-picture,” this is generally a two-movie contract. This is the difference between an “exclusive” and a “multi-picture” contract.
Some Hallmark & GAF Contracts Have Specifics
When the contracts first came out, most of these deals are for two years and two movies. One Hallmark executive was quoted as saying that originally, no one wanted that sort of contract, but after the buzz, suddenly several actors asked for their own contract. This was a commitment to the network.
The benefit of signing a contract also lets the network know that these actors will be available when they have a part for them. It is a place card of sorts to have that talent committed.
Yet, some contracts are specific to the actor who signs them. This means that even when they say “multi-picture” there could be some specific details such as Will Kemp’s deal. He signed a multi-picture deal, but he is “exclusive” to Hallmark for holiday movies. That means he will not be doing another Netflix Christmas movie with these deals. He signed to only do Hallmark Christmas.
However, the talented actor does so many other things that it does not appear that this sort of contract would prevent him from filming a love story, thriller, or mystery with another network or project. He could do these other projects with any network.
In a similar vein, Danica McKellar was asked on social media about her “exclusive” contract and if she could do mysteries. She wrote on Twitter, “Hi! I love many people in front of and behind the camera at both networks… and I’m only exclusive with GAC for romcoms and Christmas movies. Hope you are having a nice night!”
Therefore, the Wonder Years alum can make mysteries on another network like Hallmark, as she did with her now-canceled Matchmaker Mysteries. However, that seems very unlikely.
In July, she told Us Magazine, “In some ways [GAF] feels more like Hallmark than probably if I were still Hallmark.” We can guess that will not happen when she tells the media that GAF feels more like Hallmark than Hallmark does.
Based on this comment, it seems very unlikely that Hallmark will be calling her anytime soon. But, she could theoretically do movies for both networks.
Why Are Lacey Chabert & Alison Sweeney’s Contracts Different?
However, some contracts are more specific with other details such as producing and writing. Alison Sweeney, Erin Cahill, and Lacey Chabert have contracts that reveal more than acting. They will be developing content. Both have relationships with screenwriters, such as Sweeney, who has worked with Melissa Salmons for years.
For example, Lacey’s “exclusive, multi-picture,” two-year contract is for acting, developing, and executive producer for the Hallmark Channel and “other Hallmark platforms.” Erin Cahill’s is an “exclusive multi-picture deal” that has her starring and producing for Hallmark.
Even if they agreed to film a movie with GAF, this would be a financial step backward. That is because working for another network would not give them the financial benefits of adding the executive producer addition to their contract.
Moreover, Candace Cameron Bure’s contract is far more intricate as she has her own production company. In addition, she has an executive job creating content for the network. She will not be working for both networks. She is an executive as well as an actor.
Lastly, CCB has spoken publicly about taking her Signature Mystery Series Aurora Teagarden to Great American Family. But, it is not clear if this has to do with her GAF contract, or if her own decision is to not do a mystery with Hallmark. Either way, it is highly unlikely she will ever work for Hallmark again.
Whether Great American Family will make Aurora Teagarden Mysteries is a whole other question. Last year, the network promised to film a full season of When Hope Calls Season 2. They did film the Christmas episodes, but they have yet to fulfill that promise to Hearties.
Why Hasn’t Tyler Hynes Signed An Exclusive Contract?
Over the past year, many fans have wondered why such Hallmark mainstays like Paul Campbell, Niall Matter, or Tyler Hynes have not signed a special contract with Hallmark. Does that mean they will work for GAF?
While all three have made several movies with the network, they have not spoken about signing a contract. There could be a cornucopia of reasons why this has not happened.
Firstly, Paul Campbell is now an accomplished writer as well as an actor. He may choose to keep his options open in case Netflix or Hulu, etc. want his work.
I, like everyone else, will be keeping a close eye on the GAC content rollout. If there’s a noticeable lack of meaningful inclusion then, no, I will not be working for that company.
As for Niall Matter, he does not appear to want to go anywhere. Promoting The Secrets Of Bella Vista, he told Media Village, “I loved that the family in this speaks Spanish (with subtitles). That was real — and a great thing to have.”
As an actor, an artist and somebody that’s always very happy working with Hallmark as a company, I’m excited about the scripts I see come through. They’re evolving, and the brand is something I’m excited to be a part of. I like the direction these scripts are heading in, and it’s been great getting the opportunity to sink my teeth into different types of work within the company.
Tyler Hynes does a lot of other projects. He does not appear to be an actor who relishes being cornered into just one project. However, there is no doubt that Tyler loves and appreciates his fans, and he will always come back.
Will Cindy Busby, Jill Wagner, Jesse Metcalfe, & Neal Bledsoe Work For Hallmark?
There is a handful of actors like Cindy Busby, Jill Wagner, Jesse Metcalfe, and Neal Bledsoe who have all recently worked for Great American Family, but they have yet to sign any sort of contract for any network.
While Cindy Busby is one of many actors who has worked for both networks, there are no apparent issues.
Moreover, Jill Wagner has not done anything new for Hallmark in over a year. Sleuthers are continuously concerned that the Lioness creator and star has signed a contract with Great American Family. Although she is included in their new app, it does not appear that she has signed a contract.
Meanwhile, Neal Bledsoe has announced he will no longer work for Great American family again due to Candace Cameron Bure’s “traditional family” comments that indicate that the network is anti-gay marriage.
However, wouldn’t it be great if Neal Bledsoe signed a contract with Hallmark? His talent for accents and his huge fan base should be reason enough. But, would they sign him for an exclusive or a multi-deal?
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