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Former Hallmark actress claims new network 'will keep traditional marriage at the core'

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Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Former Hallmark star Candace Cameron Bure appears excited that the new network she has joined will offer stories with "more meaning and purpose and depth" that will still reflect her Christian values.

Back in April, Bure announced that she was leaving the Hallmark Channel after more than a dozen years and 30 movies with the network. Bure had become a fan favorite, especially in Christmas-themed movies. However, Hallmark has veered leftward in recent years, promising to include more LGBTQ content in its otherwise family-friendly movies. This year, Hallmark will even include a movie with an LGBTQ romance as its central focus. That movie, "The Holiday Sitter," will debut on December 11.

By the time she left, Bure lamented that Hallmark had become "a completely different network" than it had been a decade earlier, and she attributed the change in network identity to a "change of leadership."

From Hallmark, Bure, 46, moved to a new network founded by Bill Abbott, the former president and CEO of Crown Media, the parent company of Hallmark. According to Bure, this new network, Great American Family (formerly named Great American Country), will compete with Hallmark for audiences looking for more traditional, family-oriented content.

"GAC fits my brand perfectly," Bure stated at the time. "We share a vision of creating compelling, wholesome content for an audience who wants to watch programming for and with the whole family. Great, quality entertainment with a positive message is what my partnership with GAC is all about."

"My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them," Bure added.

Now with the holidays fast approaching and a "Great American Christmas" series set to rival Hallmark's annual "Countdown to Christmas" programming, Bure has hinted that, unlike Hallmark, GAF will present basic Christian teaching, including marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman.

"I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core," Bure said, though she stopped short of promising that GAF would never feature same-sex couples.

Abbott likewise did not preclude the possibility of same-sex romance storylines in the future. "It’s certainly the year 2022, so we’re aware of the trends," he stated. "There’s no whiteboard that says, 'Yes, this' or 'No, we’ll never go here.'"

Still, Bure sounds enthusiastic about the potential at GAF, especially around the holidays.

"I think we know the core audience and what they love is exactly how Bill originally built the Hallmark Channel,” Bure said. "That was Christmas and those traditional holidays, so that’s what the focus is going to be. You’ve got to start somewhere. You can’t do everything at once."

Because Bure has embraced a network focused on "traditional holidays" and "traditional marriage," other celebrities have since criticized her for supposed bigotry and hypocrisy.

"I don’t remember Jesus liking hypocrites like Candy," tweeted former "One Tree Hill" actress Hilarie Burton. "But sure. Make your money, honey."

Burton elsewhere called Bure a "bigot" and said that Abbott and "his network are disgusting."

"There is nothing untraditional about same-sex couples," Burton, 40, asserted.

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