Bill Abbott Leads Company Buying GAC From Discovery

Bill Abbott attends Hallmark Channel's celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Countdown to Christmas with a world premiere screening of 'Christmas at the Plaza' on Nov. 18, 2019 in New York City
Bill Abbott (Image credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Hallmark Channel)

Former Hallmark Channel head Bill Abbott has formed a new company with Hicks Equity Partners that has acquired the Great American Country Network from Discovery.

The new company, GAC Media LLC., also acquired Ride TV, a network dedicated to equestrian sports.

GAC Media plans to focus on family-friendly programming. The company said Abbott will oversee a prompt review of “additional content opportunities while leading growth initiatives in advertising and distribution.”

Financial terms of the deals for GAC and Ride TV were not disclosed.

“Even as the entertainment ecosystem continues to rapidly evolve – both in terms of distribution platforms and underlying content – consumer interest in family friendly programming that enriches lives and offers safe entertainment options remains as strong as ever,” Abbott said. “GAC and Ride TV represent cornerstone assets in this respect, and we look forward to growing both channels even as we pursue the larger goal of establishing new, well-resourced and engaging family-friendly programming."

Abbott was pushed out of Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media Holdings amid a controversy over pulling an ad featuring a same-sex marriage.

Discovery acquired GAC when it bought Scripps Networks.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.