Former 90210 star Jessica Lowndes has signed a deal to write, star in, direct, and produce four movies with the new GAC Family network. The company announced the move in an exclusive story with Deadline. Lowndes follows fellow Hallmark veterans Jen Lilley, Danica McKellar, and Trevor Donovan, who have all made similar deals with the network.
“Woke up feeling so incredibly grateful,” Lowndes wrote in an Instagram post. “SWIPE to see some of the reasons why.”
Her post included photos of the Deadline article that announced the deal.
Lowndes has already made two movies for GAC Family, which was started in June 2021 by Bill Abbott, the former CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. An Autumn Romance debuted in October 2021. Harmony From the Heart premiered on February 12. The latter was written by Lowndes, who also created original music for the movie.
In an interview to promote Harmony From the Heart, Abbott called Lowndes a remarkable talent.
“When I read the script, I had hardly any changes,” he said. “It was just so well done.”
Bill Abbott left Crown Media after 11 years as CEO in early 2020. Though he has never given an official reason for his departure, the move came in the wake of a decision by the network to pull a series of ads for the wedding registry site Zola that featured two brides kissing. When LGBTQ+ organizations protested the move, the ads were reinstated, and the network issued an apology.
“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused. Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” read the statement released by the network.
Crown Media appointed Wonya Lucas CEO in July 2020. Less than a year later, Abbott announced that he had joined forces with Dallas-based Hicks Equity Partners to buy two cable networks. The networks were renamed GAC Family and GAC Living. They began broadcasting in September 2021.
An Autumn Romance, which Lowndes starred in with Chad Michael Murray, was one of the first movies to air on GAC Family. It was followed by 11 original movies that aired during November and December, many of which starred Hallmark regulars.
Some of the actors who appeared in those movies, including Lilley, McKellar, and Donovan, have agreed to work exclusively for the network in deals similar to the one signed by Lowndes.
Moving forward with GAC Family
In addition to picking up stars from Hallmark, GAC Family has also rescued two of Crown Media’s series. In December, GAC Family released the first two episodes of When Hope Calls, a show that premiered on Hallmark in 2019 but was never renewed for a second season. Last week, GAC Family announced it would air the Kitten Bowl — renamed the Great American Rescue Bowl — in 2023, after Hallmark canceled the show.
In a recent interview to promote Harmony From the Heart, both Lowndes and Abbott talked about how excited they were about their new creative partnership.
“I am so excited for this network and for everyone to find a new home,” Lowndes said. “I think everyone’s going to love it.”
“You’re a huge part of our future,” Abbott said.