Lifetime Sets Its First-Ever Christmas Movie Centered on a Gay Romance

“The Christmas Set Up” will air later this year

Last Updated: August 3, 2020 @ 2:24 PM

Lifetime has set “The Christmas Set Up,” its first-ever Christmas movie centered on a gay couple, which will air as part of the cable channel’s slate of 30 new holiday films this year.

“We’re proud that we were able to share an amazing storyline last year featuring a same-sex kiss in ‘Twinkle All the Way,'” Lifetime and LMN head of programming Amy Winter said Monday during the cable channel’s presentation at the virtual Summer CTAM tour. “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.”

Lifetime, along with its competitor the Hallmark Channel, has been criticized for the lack of LGBTQ lead characters in its Christmas movies, an omission both cable channels have said they plan to remedy in the future. And while Lifetime had some inclusion with 2019’s “Twinkle All the Way,” which included an on-screen, same-sex kiss between couple Lex and Danny (Brian Sills and Mark Ghanimé), “The Christmas Set Up” will be the channel’s first movie with an LGBTQ romance as the lead story.

Per Lifetime, “The Christmas Set Up” follows Hugo, a New York corporate lawyer and his best friend Madelyn, as they 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.

“The Christmas Set Up” is produced by Neshama Entertainment in association with MarVista Entertainment and executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, Suzanne Berger and Arnie Zipursky. The movie is written by Michael J. Murray.

Additionally, Lifetime announced Monday its also greenlit “A Sugar & Spice Holiday,” its first holiday movie centered on a Chinese American family. The cable channel says casting is currently underway on both movies, with production set to begin this month.

Here are the descriptions for all the holiday movies Lifetime announced Monday.

CHRISTMAS EVER AFTER
Popular romance novelist Izzi Simmons (Tony® winner Ali Stroker) spends every Christmas at her favorite snowy bed & breakfast, but this year, she’s faced with an impending deadline and a severe case of writer’s block. Luckily, inspiration strikes in the unlikely form of the B&B’s new owner Matt (Daniel DiTomasso), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the handsome hero from Izzi’s novels. As both partake in the lodge’s annual itinerary of Christmas activities, Izzi’s writer’s block is cured and the first pages of her and Matt’s own love story may just be beginning. Christmas Ever After is produced by Neshama Entertainment in Association with Marvista Entertainment and executive produced by Arnie Zipursky, Suzanne Berger, Julianna Hays, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer and Fernando Szew. Pat Kiely directs from a script by Katrina Mathewson and Tanner Bean.

CHRISTMAS UNWRAPPED
From executive producer Tiffany Haddish, Christmas Unwrapped follows Charity (Amber Stevens West), an ambitious reporter, who learns the true meaning of Christmas when she investigates Erik Gallagher (Marco Grazzini), a beloved member of the town who insists all the gifts he provides are from none-other than Santa himself. Cheryl Ladd also stars. Additional executive producers include Tracy “Twinkie” Bryd and Dominque Telson, Arnie Zipursky and Suzanne Berger for Neshama Entertainment and Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer and Fernando Szew for MarVista Entertainment. Bosede Williams directed from a script by Gary Hardwick.

DEAR CHRISTMAS
Natalie Morgan (Melissa Joan Hart) is an author and host of a popular podcast, Holiday Love, which shares true stories of holiday romance with its listeners. While to the outside world and her listeners everywhere see Natalie is an expert on romance, she’s never truly experienced a romance of her own. As Natalie prepares to embark on a promotional tour for her new book, she stops back home to spend Christmas with her family and to celebrate her parent’s 50th anniversary where she unexpectedly begins to experience her own holiday romance as sparks ignite with local firefighter, Jack (Jason Priestley). Dear Christmas also stars Robin Givens, Ed Begley Jr and Faith Prince and is produced by Hartbreak Films, Paula Hart and Melissa Joan Hart. Emily Moss Wilson directs from a script by Juliet Giglio and Keith Giglio.

A SUGAR & SPICE HOLIDAY
Suzie, a rising young architect, returns to her small hometown in Maine for Christmas where, her Chinese American family runs the local Lobster Bar. Following the loss of her beloved grandmother who was a legendary baker in their community, Suzie is guilted into following in her grandmother’s footsteps by entering the local gingerbread house competition. Teaming up with an old high school friend Billy, who grew up to be a catch, Suzie must find the right recipes and mix of sugar and spice to win the competition and perhaps find some love in the process. A Sugar & Spice Holiday is produced by Brightlight Pictures and executive produced by Nancy Bennett, Shawn Williamson and Jamie Goehring, directed by Jennifer Liao and written by Eirene Donohue.

THE CHRISTMAS SET UP
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. The Christmas Set Up is produced by Neshama Entertainment in association with MarVista Entertainment and executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, Fernando Szew, Suzanne Berger and Arnie Zipursky. Script is written by Michael J. Murray.