‘The Wonder Years’ Star Danica McKellar Explains Why She Left Hallmark to Make Holiday Films Elsewhere

by Josh Lanier

The family movie market is a bloody business. The upstart network GAC continues to poach actors and actresses from more established brands like Hallmark. Danica McKellar jumped ship early on and sign an exclusive deal with GAC. Now, she’s explaining why she did.

Bill Abbott, former CEO of Hallmark’s parent company until early last year, acquired GAC in June. To help him establish the brand, he started locking down familiar faces in long-term deals. Danica McKellar was one of his first targets.

“Danica is a world-class talent who is among TV’s most beloved and enduring stars,” Abbott told Deadline. “Her combination of creativity and passion is second to none, and I am thrilled to have her join GAC’s close-knit family.”

The former Wonder Years star has appeared in seven Hallmark movies since 2015. Her You, Me & the Christmas Trees kicked off Hallmark’s 2021 Countdown to Christmas on Oct. 22. But that will be her last one for a while. McKellar signed an exclusive three-year, four-movie contract with GAC in late October.

She told the Wall Street Journal that she enjoyed working with Abbott when he was still over Hallmark. So, when he reached out for GAC, she was very receptive.

“So when he was getting ready to launch this new network, I was thrilled that he reached out to me to sign a multi-picture deal as an actress and executive producer,” she said.

Her first movie, The Winter Palace, premieres on Jan. 8.

Other major names such as Lori Loughlin, Debbie Matenopoulos, Trevor Donovan, Chad Michael Murray, Jennie Garth, and many others also signed on to star in GAC projects.

Candace Cameron Bure Discusses Her Vision For Hallmark Films

The undisputed queen of Hallmark Channel’s Christmas line-up is Candace Cameron Bure. She’s has been in 10 and is one of the biggest ratings draws for the network. Her most recent is The Christmas Contest.

But heavy is the head that wears the crown. The former Fuller House star said she worries about leaving a legacy of quality films. She wants to create movies that families will watch for years to come.

“I want to produce a great film that people are going to love and want to watch over and over again and look forward to it every Christmas season,” Candace Cameron Bure recently told E! News. “And at the same time, this being my 10th Christmas movie for the Hallmark Channel, you do try to make them as different as you can, while still staying in the framework of a Hallmark movie.”

She’s also focused on making new things that excite her. She doesn’t want to repeat herself year after year.

“There’s always pressure to not have a repeat story, the repeat beats, the same tropes that you can fall into with a Hallmark film,” she said. “There’s pressure, but I’m very aware of what those elements are and try my best to make it fresh and new every year.”