Lifetime announces preproduction of gay Christmas movie

  • by Jim Provenzano
  • Monday August 3, 2020
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Brian Sills and Mark Ghanimé in Lifetime's 2019 'Twinkly All the Way'
Brian Sills and Mark Ghanimé in Lifetime's 2019 'Twinkly All the Way'

After years of producing straight-only romance films, Lifetime this week announced pre-production on the network's first holiday-themed cable film with gay male leads.

Casting is underway on the film, with production set to begin this month.

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

Titled The Christmas Setup, the story follows a similar meet-cute style as the network's straight romances:

"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."

Brian Sills and Mark Ghanim� costarred as secondary characters in 2019's Twinkle All the Way.

Lifetime's romance rival, Hallmark, notoriously excluded any LGBT representation in its seemingly endless array of holiday romances, despite casting a few openly gay male leads. That network also endured complaints and backlash after it pulled an advertisement for a wedding-planning website that showed a lesbian couple.

In another 'better late than never' move, Lifetime has ordered its first holiday movie centered on a Chinese-American family/ A Sugar & Spice Holiday will be directed by Jennifer Liao and written by Eirene Donohue.