Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 12/08/23
A Paris Christmas Waltz starring Jen Lilley and Matthew Morrison debuted Nov. 19th on Great American Family.
Jen Lilley is now lighting up Christmas for Great American Media. The actress went from roles in episodic TV shows (Criminal Minds and Castle) and films like 2011’s The Artist to success on the daytime dramas General Hospital and Days of Our Lives but really hit her stride with a string of popular Hallmark Channel romcoms. Now, she’s taking her strong audience appeal to Great American Media where her work can be seen on its Great American Family cable channel and Great American Pure Flix streaming service.
JWK: So, what attracted you to Great American Media?
Jen Lilley: I very much loved my time on Hallmark and I’m really grateful for every career opportunity that I’ve had so far. I have a very close relationship with (former Hallmark chief ) Bill Abbott who is now the CEO of Great American Family and Great American Pure Flix. I also, coincidentally, have a longstanding relationship with Pure Flix (from before the merger) as well. For me, it was about staying true to my relationships. Also I love that Great American Family supports my faith. I love Jesus and I love the content that Great American Family puts out.
JWK: What makes you want to do a movie?
JL: First of all, it starts with a good script. I really look for good scripts. The two most important things to me in a romantic movie are 1.) Do I want these characters to end up together as a reader and audience member? Do I actually care? By Page 20 am I wanting these people to get together and do I want to find out what happens next? The second thing I look for is witty banter. I want to make sure that they have a fun quick back and forth. That really interests me as an actress who loves comedy as well.
JWK: So, you really are an actual fan of romcoms.
JL: Very much so. I LOVE Meg Ryan. She’s one of the reasons I wanted to become an actress.
JWK: Do you have a favorite Meg Ryan film?
JL: Omigosh! When Harry Met Sally is probably my favorite Meg Ryan movie but she’s truly brilliant in all of them.
JWK: You’ve already made your own mark on romcoms. Are there any other genres that you’re looking to do?
JL: I would love to play a homicide detective or a lawyer. I’m very interested in criminal minds – not Criminal Minds the show, though I was on that. I mean just how criminal minds operate in justice and law. I have a deep interest in that.
JWK: You’re also a singer, right?
JWK: And you did a Christmas album, correct?
JL: I did! I made a Christmas album in 2015 for fun and it ended up going to number one on the Amazon jazz chart. It outranked Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong and Harry Connick Jr. – who are all some of my favorites! So, I did that. Then I did a real original album that I released fully in 2020.
JWK: Would you like to do a musical?
JL: Yes! That was one of the things I loved about A Paris Christmas Waltz. Not only did we get to dance – which was a challenge and a wonderful challenge at that – but I got to sing as well. So, that was fun.
JWK: On the personal side, you and your husband are involved with an organization called Childhelp.
JL: Yes, we are!
JWK: Can you tell me about that?
JL: Childhelp is the longest-running and largest nonprofit in the United States for rehabilitating children who have experienced abuse and neglect – and also for preventing it. They run the 1-800-4-A-CHILD child abuse and counseling hotline. They’ve rescued over 13-million US children from abuse and neglect. I got involved with them in 2011 right after I did The Artist and while I was on General Hospital. I was trying to explore what issues the Lord wanted sunlight on – like what issues were not getting sunlight? Child abuse was definitely one of them. It’s one of America’s dirtiest secrets. So, I just started giving my voice to that and learning more about that. Then my husband and I became mentors through their program called Special Friends. Then we became foster parents and adoptive parents through them. So, I love that organization. I love what they do. They’re so good at the way they handle their money. They’re faith-based as well. They’re exceptional. I admire their founders Sara (O’Meara) and Yvonne (Fedderson) so very much. I strive to be like them.
JWK: What’s on the horizon for you?
JL: I’m writing a book right now with Dr. John DeGarmo about foster care – to try to recruit better foster parents. Then I might resume my podcast about foster care from 2014. Beyond that, hopefully I’ll still be acting and hopefully I’ll be acting in this genre for this channel. We’ll see. It always depends on what the Lord has in mind. I just say yes to whatever He asks me to do. We’ll see what’s happening next.
JWK: Beyond acting, do you have any additional career dreams?
JL: I also want to get more into producing. I’m very organized. I love discovering talent and promoting other people. So, I would like to get into the producer’s seat and help other young budding artists come up in their careers and make their dreams come true.
Jen Lilley films currently available on Great American American Pure Flix
Fox News Channel’s signature morning show Fox & Friends (weekdays, 6:00-9:00 AM ET) continues its annual All-American Christmas Concert Series this morning with contemporary Christian and mainstream singer Michael W. Smith. The show’s annual concert series kicked off last Friday with Christian singer-songwriter Katy Nichole. Planned upcoming performances include the male vocal group Il Divo (date TBD), gospel performer Jekalyn Carr (Dec. 10), country singer-songwriter Jon Pardi (Dec. 15), country star Chris Janson (Dec. 16), singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw (Dec. 22), Nigerian-born Christian pop and gospel singer Blessing Offor (Dec. 23) and contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle (Dec. 29).
Fox & Friends, currently co-hosted by Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Lawrence Jones, is also celebrating 22 consecutive years as cable television’s number-one morning news program.
John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11