Keeping it real! Curious Caterer costars Nikki DeLoach and Andrew Walker are still team Hallmark after some of the network’s stars moved in 2021 and 2022 to Great American Media.
“Let’s start with the family that is Hallmark,” DeLoach, 43, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, February 1, while promoting her and Walker’s second mystery film together, Curious Caterer: Grilling Season. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a lot of different networks … this is the only network I’ve ever worked at in my 30-something years of being in this industry where you truly are family from the top all the way through.”
The Cranberry Christmas actress added: “I don’t know many networks where you can pick up the phone and call the head of the network or reach out to any and all executives.”
Hallmark Media made headlines in January 2020 when its former CEO Bill Abbott left the company following a controversial choice to pull a same-sex commercial from the network. He launched Great American Media — which includes Great American Family — one year later and many of Hallmark’s big stars followed him, including Candace Cameron Bure and Danica McKellar.
DeLoach, however, signed an exclusive, multi-picture overall deal with Hallmark Media in December 2022. Walker, meanwhile, announced his exclusive multi-picture contract with the network in April 2022.
“I think in this industry, you either evolve or you die or you just, like, get left behind. And I think that’s what Hallmark has been doing and they’re leaders in this [industry], especially with these incredible women that are now running this company,” the Three Wise Men and a Baby actor, 43, told Us on Wednesday. “There [are] some really interesting things that they’re taking on. We have same sex marriage [stories]. We have biracial relationships. It’s what our world [looks like].”
Walker noted that “these are real stories” being portrayed by equally as complex actors.
“I think that’s something that Hallmark has really put forward is that they want to tell real stories about real people with that same, like, heart and warmth and familiarity that you get in a Hallmark movie,” the Sabrina the Teenage Witch alum explained. “I think that’s the beauty of working for this network. It’s just in incredible what they’ve done so far. Feel honored.”
DeLoach agreed with her longtime friend — who she has starred alongside in four rom-coms in addition to the Curious Caterer franchise.
“There is this true family unit that exists inside of all of us. We’re such cheerleaders for the other people. We support each other’s movies. We want the best for everybody,” the Awkward alum told Us of the Hallmark Media brand. “We’re all friends. We hang out together. We do life together. We work together. We mourn together. I’ve never experienced that at any other network.”
She continued: “It feels like that old school, like, Hollywood studio system where they had their actors that just rotated in all the different movies that they made. I feel like that’s what Hallmark has created here.”
DeLoach, who has worked as a producer and writer on multiple Hallmark films, added that the fanbase for these feel-good movies is the cherry on top.
“Hallmark fans are unlike any other fans I’ve ever had the gift of interacting with. There’s so much heart. They are truly a reflection of the content that we create on this network,” the Taking the Reins actress said. “They are so loving and so supportive. I am so grateful to be able to be a part of this network. It has been a truly one of the greatest gifts in my life.”
Walker, on the other hand, pointed out how rare Hallmark Media’s success is in the entertainment industry — and how its longevity has helped him branch out into becoming a producer as well.
“It’s obviously something that we all talk about as the core actors on this network, the gift that we’ve been given to be able to work on a network that cares so much so deeply for their fans and the content they’re putting out there,” the 27-Hour Day actor told Us. “Everybody feels supported. There’s no competition amongst us.”
Curious Caterer: Grilling Season premieres on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Sunday, February 5, at 7 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kat Pettibone