Gay leads in Christmas programming? You have our attention.
The Lifetime TV channel has announced that it will release its first-ever holiday film with a same-sex romance as the central storyline. The upcoming tv movie, which has yet to cast or film, is called The Christmas Set-Up and follows two characters named Hugo and Patrick.
As the film’s official description explains:
“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.”
“We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating a holiday destination that is welcoming to all at Lifetime,” said Lifetime and LMN programming EVP Amy Winter in referencing last year’s tv movie Twinkle All the Way, which premiered last year and included a same-sex kiss. “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.”
This announcement of a gay romance film in Lifetime’s upcoming Christmas movie slate comes after last year’s controversy surrounding rival tv station Hallmark. Many LGBTQ Twitter users called out Hallmark for its lack of LGBTQ stories within its expansive repertoire of holiday movies. In addition, Hallmark got additional slack for removing a lesbian wedding advertisement after conservative viewers complained. This is despite the advertiser having already paid for the commercial slot.
This past June, Hallmark’s Vice President of network program publicity, George Zaralidis remarked that Hallmark is “committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
But it looks like on the stance of inclusivity, Lifetime is one step ahead.