Lifetime is set to air a holiday movie starring a same-sex central couple, a first for the cable network. The festive film, titled “The Christmas Set Up,” will follow the developing romance of two men and will be released as part of the channel’s 30 new holiday features this year.
The network announced the news at today’s virtual Television Critics Association summer press tour, The Wrap reports. The announcement comes less than a year after Lifetime aired a same-sex kiss in last year’s Christmas movie “Twinkle All the Way;” however in the network’s 36 years, it has never featured an LGBTQ romance as the lead story in a film.
“We’re proud that we were able to share an amazing storyline last year featuring a same-sex kiss in ‘Twinkle All the Way,'” said Lifetime and LMN head of programming Amy Winter. “And this year, we’re even more proud to announce one of our Christmas movies will feature an LGBTQ lead story because, at Lifetime, the holidays truly are for everyone.”
According to TVLine, the synopsis reads: “Hugo, a New York corporate lawyer and his best friend Madelyn head to Milwaukee to spend the holidays with his mom Kate, who is also in charge of the local Christmas celebrations. Ever the matchmaker, Kate arranges for Hugo to run into Patrick, Hugo’s high school friend and secret crush, who has recently returned after a successful stint in Silicon Valley.
“As they enjoy the local holiday festivities together, Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable and it looks as though Kate’s well-intentioned Santa-style matchmaking is a success. But as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him.”
Casting choices for the movie have yet to be released, but production is set to begin sometime this month. “We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating a holiday destination that is welcoming to all at Lifetime,” Winter said. “With more new movies than any one cable network for streamer, I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible talent joining us in front of, and behind the camera, on these new holiday movies.”
The Hallmark Channel also announced it is committed to adding more LGBTQ+ stories and actors to its holiday lineup this year. Both networks have been criticized for a lack of LGBTQ+ representation, so this is an exciting (albeit long-overdue) moment for cable TV. And while reactions to the film will no doubt be mixed, we can’t wait to watch the love story of Hugo and Patrick.
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