News, Culture and Opportunities

Hallmark Channel to premiere first holiday rom com centered on a gay couple

The Hallmark Channel recently announced its 2022 line-up of original holiday movies—40 in total—that will premiere along with countless other made-for-TV flicks airing around the clock on the network beginning October 21. Among the new films is a first for Hallmark: a Christmas-themed film centered on a gay couple.

The Holiday Sitter premieres December 11, starring out Mean Girls alum Jonathan Bennett as a “workaholic bachelor” tasked with babysitting his niece and nephew during the holidays. Out actor George Krissa co-stars as the hunky next-door neighbor with whom Bennett’s character strikes up a romance.

“Words can’t describe what it feels like to have Executive Produced and starred in such an incredible story that will mean so much to so many!” Bennett wrote in an Instagram post trumpeting the news. “A HUGE APPLAUSE to @hallmarkchannel and all the leadership and executives, they not only believed in this story but took such good care of it championed it wholeheartedly the entire process.”

“This Christmas we’ll make history with the @hallmarkchannel as the first EVER LGBTQ rom com on their network!” Krissa wrote in his own post. “I had the absolute time of my life shooting this movie with the hilarious and incredible @jonathandbennett, with @aliliebert as our director, @chelseaxhobbs , and so very many wonderful people.”

As Gay Times notes, The Holiday Sitter may be the first Hallmark holiday movie to focus solely on a gay couple, but it’s not the first time the network has featured LGBTQ folks in its holiday offerings. In 2020, Bennett co-starred in the ensemble comedy The Christmas House, as the married gay son of family giving their home a major holiday makeover.

That film followed a public back-and-forth over the lack of LGBTQ characters in holiday movies on networks like the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. In 2019, LGBTQ Nation published an essay urging the networks to include more diversity in their holiday programming, leading one conservative website to concoct a dubious petition opposing LGBTQ inclusion in made-for-TV Christmas movies.

The following summer, Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media Family Networks announced that it would include movies featuring LGBTQ characters in its 2020 holiday lineup.

This content was originally published here.

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