Alison Sweeney is set for some exciting upcoming Hallmark movies in 2024, but those movies won’t come without changes. In fact, her Hannah Swensen Mystery series – which has survived for eight movies and even through a name change (RIP Murder She Baked) – is going to put fans through the ringer with another change: a brand new leading man. Apparently, there’s a good reason for this.
You may have heard the news yesterday that Alison Sweeney and co. would be swapping out longtime leading man Cameron Mathison for other Hallmark star Victor Webster, with whom she starred in the Wedding Veil trilogies movies. When Hallmark announced the news, the actress cited having previously worked with Webster on daytime television as well, so they share a lot of TV history. Hannah Swensen, should simply be the next step in that journey, though it may be a little bittersweet for fans.
What Hallmark Says About Mathison’s Exit From Hannah Swensen
In a statement (via TV Line), the network said the choice was made in the upcoming murder mystery One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery because the movies are trying to "stay true to the book series." Positively mysterious, unless you've read the novels written by Joanne Fluke.
There are only eight movies so far, but there are I believe 27 books and a lot has happened to the character in those additional chapters. In Fluke's stories, there are some shenanigans that go down with Hannah's personal life, her professional life with Mike and some additional plots (like a sham wedding). Ultimately, Hannah and Mike may not be endgame, so don't buy what the last movie's ending said about them taking things slow and trying again.
In the Hallmark projects, Victor Webster is joining as a character named Chad Barton who will come in as a prosecuting attorney. Mike's joining the FBI and gone for training. Given how much murder happens in the small town of Eden Lake, Swensen will need some help solving crime, of course.
Why This Explanation Makes Sense No Matter The GAF Story
Myriad stars have left Hallmark for GAF at this point, including Candace Cameron Bure, Danica McKellar and more. However, it is worth pointing out that Mathison has been doing movies on both channels for a while. While the actor did recently ink a new deal, there’s not necessarily a reason to suspect he signed an exclusive deal.(Though, to wit, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see where all of Mathison’s next projects land.)
While Hallmark may not have wanted to give away too much about the books with the vague statement above, after eight movies, sometimes it's time for something different, and the explanation from the network makes sense. In short, there may not be any GAF sleuthing the internet needs to do, even if we like a good mystery.
Regardless if Mathison is officially and fully leaving Hallmark, it sounds like the happy ending for Hannah Swensen was never going to be with Mike. Only time will tell if it'll be Hannah + Chad instead. At least we already know the two stars have good onscreen chemistry...