Wednesday, 9 August 2023

CEO Behind Hallmark Channel’s ‘Woke’ Journey Announces Plan To Step Down

 Hallmark Media CEO Wonya Lucas — who oversaw the company’s transition into embracing more LGBTQ-friendly storylines — will step down.

According to a report published Tuesday by The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas will stay until year’s end, and will remain on the Hallmark Media board of directors — and Hallmark Companies CEO Mike Perry will manage the transition as she exits.

“I am honored to have led this company and am tremendously proud of the progress we’ve made by creating an evolved entertainment experience that inspires meaningful, emotionally connected moments for our audiences,” Lucas said in a statement. “My passion for the Hallmark brand has grown in deeply rewarding ways and will remain paramount as I continue to help guide Hallmark Media’s future in a more strategically focused capacity.”

Lucas came to Hallmark from TV One in 2020, taking the reins from former CEO and President Bill Abbott after backlash over Hallmark Channel’s removal of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple — and one of her priorities while at the helm was to increase “representation.”

Lucas’ arrival followed a promise from Perry for Hallmark Channel to work with GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ) to create a more inclusive environment and promote more diverse storylines. During her tenure, the channel not only introduced several LGBTQ+ supporting characters but also premiered its first feature film centered on a same-sex relationship.

But while Lucas the niece of late baseball legend Hank Aaron oversaw a move to more diverse and “inclusive” programming, she also oversaw the abrupt exits of a number of the network’s biggest stars.

Candace Cameron Bure, who headlined a number of holiday films for the network in addition to starring in the Aurora Teagarden mystery series, announced in 2022 that she was joining ex-CEO Bill Abbott’s new venture — Great American Family — which would keep the focus on traditional marriage and faith-based storylines.


Among the other actors who made the jump from Hallmark to Great American Family are Trevor Donovan, Jennie Garth, Daniel Lissing, Lori Loughlin, and Jen Lilley.

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