The Lifetime Network–chief rival of Hallmark when it comes to sappy holiday movies–has made an announcement. This year will see the network release its first-ever Christmas movie centered on a gay romance.
“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 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.”
Lifetime, like Hallmark, has developed a reputation and devoted following for its by-the-numbers holiday films which often revolve around a hard-boiled city dweller finding true love at Christmas. Both networks have received criticism from various communities for focusing almost entirely on white, affluent, Christian and heterosexual characters. Earlier this year Hallmark announced it would include queer characters in its upcoming slate of films, though the network has yet to announce any specifics. Now, it looks like Lifetime has beaten them to the punch.
The Christmas Set-Up will center on a gay, New York lawyer named Hugo who travels to Wisconsin to spend the holidays with friends. There, the mother of one of his friends decides to set Hugo up with Patrick, a Silicon Valley upstart who also happens to be Hugo’s high school crush. Sparks fly between the pair, until Hugo is offered a new job in London, and must decide on his life priorities.
Lifetime has not yet announced a cast for the film, which is slated for release later this year. The announcement marks another step forward for Lifetime. Last year, the network’s Christmas film Twinkle All the Way featured a kiss between two men–a first for the channel’s holiday films.