Lifetime announces 1st holiday movie centered around same-sex couple

Get ready for "The Christmas Set Up."

August 03, 2020, 8:41 PM

Lifetime announced Monday it will feature its first same-sex relationship at the core of one of its "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" holiday movies. The new film is titled "The Christmas Set Up."

The movie will follow Hugo, a corporate lawyer in New York, who returns home to Milwaukee for the holidays, according to a press release. While there, his mother plays matchmaker between him and his secret high school crush, Patrick, who recently made it big in Silicon Valley. While their relationship sparks, Hugo receives a big promotion which would require him to move to London.

Lifetime -- who, like Hallmark Channel, has been called out for lacking LGBTQ representation in its holiday programming -- previously featured a same-sex kiss in its 2019 holiday movie "Twinkle All the Way." Even though it was the final kiss of the entire film, the relationship between the two characters, played by Brian Sills and Mark Ghanimé, wasn't its central focus.

PHOTO: In this still from the 2019 Lifetime movie "Twinkle All The Way", actors Brian Sills and Mark Ghanime play a married couple.
In this still from the 2019 Lifetime movie "Twinkle All The Way", actors Brian Sills and Mark Ghanime play a married couple.
Courtesy of Lifetime

"We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating a holiday destination that is welcoming to all at Lifetime," Amy Winter, EVP and head of programming at Lifetime and LMN, said.

Elsewhere in Lifetime's slate of 30 new holiday movies, which will be released in full sometime in September, are more wins for diversity. For example, the Jennifer Liao-directed "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" is about a Chinese-American family -- another first for the network.

Lifetime said casting for both "The Christmas Set Up" and "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" is currently underway and production on both is set to begin later this month.

In addition to these two projects, the network announced "Christmas Ever After," which stars Ali Stroker, the first actress who uses a wheelchair for mobility to be nominated for and win a Tony. Tiffany Haddish is also executive producing a holiday film titled "Christmas Unwrapped."

This news comes weeks after a Hallmark Channel spokesperson told "Good Morning America" the network would be announcing "projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors."

"Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us," a statement from the representative read. "We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome."

None such projects from Hallmark Channel have been revealed as of yet.

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