Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Hallmark parent company Crown Media, is leaving the company. A search for his replacement is underway.
“After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media is leaving the company,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Inc. “I want to thank Bill for his many years of success and contributions to Crown Media and wish him continued success.”
There was no reason given for Abbott’s departure. A representative declined to comment further than what the network said in the announcement.
Perry continued: “In a time when there is immense competition among television networks and streaming services, it is more important than ever that we find relevant new ways to grow our business and continue to produce high quality programming that resonates with our growing audience.”
Abbott’s exit comes a month after Hallmark Channel was criticized after the network pulled ads from the wedding planning website Zola that depicted same-sex couples. Hallmark made the decision to pull the ads, which were first seen on the channel on Dec. 2, after a conservative group called for a boycott of the network. In response, Zola said it would no longer advertise with the network.
Hallmark eventually reversed course and apologized a day later.
Hallmark Channel’s lack of inclusivity in its holiday programming has also come under scrutiny. Last month, former “One Tree Hill” star Hilarie Burton said she was “let go” from one of the network’s holiday movies after asking for more diversity on the project.
“I have tremendous confidence in the Crown Media management team and with this team in place, I will begin a search for Bill’s replacement,” Perry concluded.