GAC Family
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersFort Worth, Texas
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format
Ownership
OwnerGAC Media
Sister channelsGAC Living
History
LaunchedDecember 31, 1995; 26 years ago (1995-12-31)
ReplacedGreat American Country
Former namesGreat American Country (1995-2021)
GAC (2004-2014; secondary branding throughout run of network)
Links
Websitewww.gacfamily.com
Availability
Cable
Available on most American cable systemsChannel slots vary on each operator
Satellite
Dish Network
  • Channel 165 (HD)
DirecTV/Stream
  • Channel 326 (HD)
IPTV
Google FiberChannel slots may vary
AT&T U-verseChannel 529 (SD)
Channel 1529 HD)
Streaming media
Fubo TV, Philo, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, Frndly TV

GAC Family (formerly Great American Country/GAC) is an American cable television network owned by GAC Media.

It was originally established in 1995 by Jones Radio Network as a country music channel. GAC was later acquired by Scripps Networks and, in turn, Discovery Inc.. Under Scripps, GAC's format was widened to include lifestyle programming pertaining to the American Heartland and the South, although the network continued to carry some country music programming.

In June 2021, the network was divested by Discovery to GAC Media, a new ownership group that includes former Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott. On September 27, 2021, the network rebranded as GAC Family and adopted a family-oriented general entertainment format. The lifestyle format was moved to new sister channel Ride TV, which was concurrently renamed GAC Living.

As of February 2015, GAC was available to approximately 59 million television households (51% of pay television customers) in the United States.[1]

History

First Great American Country logo, used from launch to 2004
First Great American Country logo, used from launch to 2004
Great American Country logo, 2014-2021
Great American Country logo, 2014-2021

The channel was launched on December 31, 1995, with the first music video to be broadcast on the channel, Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls".[2] The channel was originally owned by the Centennial, Colorado-based Jones Radio Network.

Scripps Networks

On October 12, 2004, Scripps Networks, the part of the E. W. Scripps Company acquired Great American Country from Jones Radio Network .

In late 2005, television industry trade publication Broadcasting & Cable named GAC as one of TV's "Breakout Networks", saying of the channel: "The emerging GAC is a younger, hipper version that respects Nashville's country roads but widens the boulevards."[3]

Great American Country and ABC Radio Networks (now Cumulus Media) formed a partnership to produce a nightly radio show called GAC Nights: Live From Nashville hosted by Suzanne Alexander, and co-hosted by Storme Warren and Nan Kelley. It was broadcast from its studios at Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The show ran from 2007 to 2009, when it was canceled.[citation needed]

In July 2008, Scripps Networks was spun off from the E. W. Scripps Company as Scripps Networks Interactive.

On October 1, 2013, the network unveiled a new logo inspired by the U.S. flag, dropping the "GAC" acronym in favor of using the Great American Country name in full. The network stated that it wanted to emphasize its expansion from a country music-oriented channel to one with a larger emphasis on "country" as referring to a "sense of place" and lifestyles (citing programming such as Celebrity Motor Homes and Farm Kings as examples).[4] With the channel's rebranding, the daily music video show Daily Countdown was renamed Great American Playlist. Top 20 Country Countdown continued to air (it was cancelled in December 2018), and the network still offered country music specials including Backstory, Introducing and Origins.[5]

In March 2018, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive.[6]

GAC Media

On June 7, 2021, Discovery, which had agreed to a proposed merger with WarnerMedia, announced that it would divest Great American Country to GAC Media, an investment group led by private equity investor Tom Hicks and former Crown Media Holdings CEO Bill Abbott. GAC Media would also acquire the equestrian network Ride TV.[7]

In August 2021, GAC Media announced that it would relaunch Great American Country and Ride TV as GAC Family and GAC Living on September 27, with the GAC initials re-backronymed to stand for "Great American Channels";[8] the channel was repositioned as a family-oriented general entertainment service with similarities to Hallmark Channel, which Abbot had previously overseen as Crown Media CEO.[9] The previous country lifestyle format was assumed by Ride TV, which concurrently rebranded as the sister channel GAC Living.[9] After several marathons of past series during the transition, the network officially launched on October 15.

Programming

Main article: List of programs and films broadcast by GAC Family

GAC Family is being positioned as a family-oriented channel with original series and movies emphasizing "relationships and the emotional connections related to holidays, seasons and occasions", and programming reflecting "American culture, lifestyle and heritage".[9] GAC Family acquired season 2 of When Hope Calls, a spin-off of Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart that originally aired on the network's streaming service Hallmark Movies Now.[10] GAC also announced plans to air nine original Christmas movies over the holiday season, signed Danica McKellar to a multi-film deal with the network,[11] and tapped former Home & Family hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Cameron Mathison to host the preview special Welcome to Great American Christmas.[12] GAC Media also has an agreement with Sony Pictures Television to carry several classic Screen Gems-era sitcoms in non-prime hours outside the holiday season.

Under its previous ownership, the network's original programming included series such as Kimberly's Simply Southern, a cooking show featuring Kimberly Schlapman (member of the country music group Little Big Town), Farm Kings, a reality show chronicling the King family of Freedom Farms; and Celebrity Motorhomes.[13] It also featured reruns of shows from former Scripps Networks Interactive sister networks that suited the network's format. From 2011 through 2013, GAC broadcast the National Finals Rodeo.[14][15]

Carriage

On November 5, 2010, AT&T U-verse dropped Great American Country, and sister networks Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, and DIY Network, due to a carriage dispute over an increase in retransmission fees.[16] Two days later the dispute was resolved.[17][18]

In October 2021, GAC Media reached an agreement with over-the-top service Frndly TV.[19]

In November 2021, Philo and GAC Media reached a deal to add GAC Living and GAC Family to the service beginning in early December 2021. [20]

References

  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  2. ^ The Official Garth Brooks Website Archived January 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Hot & Happening: Breakout Networks. Broadcasting & Cable. October 31, 2005.
  4. ^ "Great American Country Broadens Expanse". MediaPost. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Watts, Cindy (October 2, 2013). "GAC announces rebranding, programming changes". The Tennessean.
  6. ^ James, Meg (March 6, 2018). "Discovery completes $12-billion takeover of Scripps Networks' Food, HGTV and Travel channels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  7. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (June 7, 2021). "Discovery Sells Great American Country To Investor Group With Former Crown Media Chief Bill Abbott As CEO". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  8. ^ Media, G. A. C. "GAC Family Announces Original Series 'When Hope Calls' Season Two Set to Premiere December 18". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Lafayette, Jon (August 26, 2021). "Former Hallmark Head Bill Abbott Renames Cable Networks To Create Family Friendly GAC Brands". Broadcasting Cable. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Otterson, Joe (September 28, 2021). "Lori Loughlin Sets Acting Return in "When Hope Calls" on GAC Family". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (October 26, 2021). "Danica McKellar Inks Multi-Picture Deal With GAC Media, Will Headline Holiday Movies Exclusively For Rebranded Network". Deadline. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 28, 2021). "Lori Loughlin To Reprise 'When Calls the Heart' Character In Season 2 Of 'When Hope Calls' On GAC Family In Acting Return". Deadline. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  13. ^ "Great American Country Unveils New Brand Identity". The Wall Street Journal. September 30, 2013., The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2013
  14. ^ "GAC channel a perfect fit for National Finals Rodeo". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "After rift, Vegas rekindles 'lovefest' with NFR". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  16. ^ AT&T's U-verse Drops Food Network, HGTV and Other Scripps Networks, Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2010
  17. ^ Food Network, HGTV, Back on U-verse, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2010
  18. ^ AT&T U-verse, Scripps Reconnect on Carriage Contract. MultiChannel News. November 7, 2010.
  19. ^ Barnes, Jess. "Frndly TV Will Add GAC Channels on October 19 | Cord Cutters News". Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  20. ^ "Philo is Adding GAC Living Network". Cord Cutters News. November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.