Bill Abbott is exiting his post as president and CEO of Crown Media, the parent company of Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama. The company made the announcement on Wednesday.
“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.”
“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 continued.
News of Abbott’s departure comes a little over a month after Hallmark found itself in hot water over a Zola ad featuring a same-sex couple. It showed two women getting married pondering how their wedding might have improved with the use of Zola’s services. Hallmark originally pulled the ad off the air before backtracking and apologizing.
The company cited a desire to avoid controversy, and a conservative advocacy organization, One Million Moms, had already started a petition urging the cable outlet to remove the ad from its schedule. The controversy occurred during Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas,” an annual programming block of Christmas-themed movies that air during the month of December. According to Hallmark and Nielsen data, the network averaged 1.7 million overall viewers during primetime hours between December 16-22.
“Across our brand, we will continue to look for ways to be more inclusive and celebrate our differences,” Perry said at the time.