Lifetime Reveals 2020 Holiday Lineup of 30 New Movies, Including First LGBTQ Romance
Lifetime has a couple “firsts” in its holiday programming slate for 2020.
The network announced the 2020 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime block will include 30 new movies, including its first film with a LGBTQ romance as the lead story, The Christmas Set Up, and its first holiday film centered on a Chinese-American family, A Sugar & Spice Holiday. The Christmas Set Up comes after the 2019 movie, Twinkle All the Way, included an on screen, same sex kiss between Lex and Danny (Brian Sills and Mark Ghanimé). Casting has begun, with production set for this month, for both.
“We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating a holiday destination that is welcoming to all at Lifetime,” Amy Winter, EVP and Head of Programming, Lifetime and LMN, said in a 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.”
Lifetime was the #1 holiday movie destination in 2019 with 80.1 million total viewers for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime. From mid-October through December, there will be over 1,200 hours of programming this year, including new and returning stars. Betty White, Kelly Rowland, Mario Lopez, and Melissa Joan Hart’s casting was previously announced, and now we know that some of the stars joining them are: Tiffany Haddish, who is executive producing Christmas Unwrapped starring Amber Stevens West, Marco Grazzini and Cheryl Ladd; Jason Priestley, Robin Givens, Ed Begley Jr., and Faith Prince co-starring with Hart in Dear Christmas; and Ali Stroker leading Christmas Ever After alongside Daniel DiTomasso.
See below for all of the 2020 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime movies announced so far, as well as their stars and descriptions.
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, with Arnie Zipursky, Suzanne Berger, Julianna Hays, Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, and Fernando Szew its executive producers. Pat Kiely directs, and Katrina Mathewson and Tanner Bean are its writers.
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.
Joining Haddish as executive producers are 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. Gary Hardwick wrote the script, and Bosede Williams directed.
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 parents’ 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.
It 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. Michael J. Murray wrote the script.