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Former Hallmark CEO: Too much of today’s TV content is salacious

Former Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott
Former Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott at a November 2019 event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. Abbott recently launched two new family-friendly networks. Pic credit: ©

The former CEO of Crown Media said that too much of the content broadcast on television these days is salacious and unfit for family viewing.

In an appearance on the Up Next with John Contratti podcast, Bill Abbott talked about his attempt to expand the realm of family-friendly programming on television with two new networks, GAC Family and GAC Living.

In the interview, Abbott mentioned his 20-year tenure at Crown Media, the company that owns Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. He did not elaborate on why he chose to leave the company in early 2020. He did say he hopes to make his two new networks a home for quality family-friendly television.

“There’s so much need for family content in the market and in this space,” he said. “You know, it’s pretty scary, quite frankly, the amount of content that’s out there…the vast majority of content that’s salacious and just is not appropriate for any member of the family.”

Television career

A native of Long Island, Abbott started his career in advertising after earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from College of the Holy Cross. He quickly became interested in television ratings and programming and moved on to work as a manager representing television stations around the country.

“I learned so much about what works, what doesn’t, what programming resonates,” he said.

At Crown Media, he helped produce both shows and movies, something he hopes to do with GAC Media.

Abbott made headlines in June 2021 when he announced he had partnered with Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners to purchase two networks in a deal Bloomberg estimated at $90 million.

Programming began in September 2021 on both networks, and GAC Family aired 12 original movies by the end of December. So far this year, the network has released The Winter Palace and Harmony From the Heart, and Abbott mentioned he was scouting locations in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Texas for more productions.

What’s on at GAC

In addition to movies, GAC Family has been showing reruns of I Dream of Jeannie, Full House, Fuller House, Who’s the Boss, and Bewitched. GAC Living has been showing old HGTV content, but the network will ultimately produce its own lifestyle and cooking programs.

Abbott said he is interested first and foremost in giving people a place to go for simple, feel-good programming.

“You get home from work, the last thing a lot of people want to do is have, you know, more problems or see situations…that make them uncomfortable,” he said. “So we just want to be that lean-back experience in the linear space that you can count on, and you know what you’re going to get when you turn on our network.”

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  1. Great article Amanda Unsworth! I really enjoyed this Podcast interview! I respect and admire Bill Abbott’s tenacity and creativity! He has really shown his vision for viewers in just a short period of time at GAC Family! I can’t wait to see what’s next and I hope the inspirational series Good Witch is next in his line up!

  2. Wonderful article. I love GAC Family. I’ve been enjoying “Up Next With John Contratti” and was glad to see Bill Abbott as a guest.

  3. I remember John Contratti from Mad Hungry. Just purchased his new cookbook. Glad to see he has a new show and introduced me to GAC Family.


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