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Hallmark to release 40 new films this holiday season, promises "most-diverse" lineup in the channel's history

One storyline even includes an LGBT+ love story, which many fans have been looking forward to for years

LOS ANGELES — It may only be the second day of Fall, but Hallmark is already looking towards the holidays. 

The channel has announced their extensive line up of 40 new films, including 23 holiday-inspired movies, and 17 from their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries line. 

Despite the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hallmark has managed to create brand new stories that will debut on the channel in the coming months.

The lineup is a part of Hallmark's "Countdown to Christmas" program, which will kick off a whole two months before Christmas, starting October 23. 

“For more than a decade, Hallmark holiday movies have represented the gold standard that many aspire to replicate,” said Crown Media’s President & CEO, Wonya Lucas. “What we bring to the table and what truly sets us apart is an immersive holiday experience that has become a pop culture phenomenon for millions of fans. From our signature movies, to food and wine, to games and decorations, to clothing, music, books, and more, we have created a destination that evokes the spirit and feeling of the season in a way that is uniquely Hallmark.”

"Mean Girls" actor Jonathan Bennett will star in "The Christmas House," Hallmark's first-ever holiday-film centered around a gay love-story. The movie will also include notable actors such as Robert Buckley ("One Tree Hill"), Ana Ayora ("In the Dark"), and Sharon Lawrence ("NYPD Blue").

“Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever," Michelle Vicary, Hallmark Channel's executive vice president of programming, said in a statement. "This year’s movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, narratives, and families," she said.

The channel has also tapped into a variety of stars from all walks of famehood, including music, film, television, Broadway, and more. 

You can find a full list of Hallmark's "Countdown to Christmas" 2020 schedule below. All films premiere at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. 

Saturday, October 24: Jingle Bell Bride
Stars: Julie Gonzalo ("Supergirl”) and Ronnie Rowe Jr. (“Star Trek: Discovery”)
Wedding planner Jessica Perez (Gonzalo) travels to a remote town in Alaska to find a rare flower for a celebrity client and is charmed by the small town during Christmas, as well as the handsome local (Rowe Jr.) helping her.

Sunday, October 25: “Chateau Christmas”
Stars: Merritt Patterson (“Picture a Perfect Christmas”) and Luke Macfarlane (“Just Add Romance”)
Margot (Patterson), a world-renowned pianist, returns to Chateau Newhaus to spend the holidays with her family and is reunited with an ex (Macfarlane) who helps her rediscover her passion for music.

Saturday, October 31: “Christmas with the Darlings”
Stars: Katrina Law (“Arrow”) and Carlo Marks (“Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday”)
Just before the holidays Jessica Lew (Law) is ending her tenure as the assistant to her wealthy boss to use her recently earned law degree within his company, but offers to help his charming, younger brother (Marks) as he looks after his orphaned nieces and nephew over Christmas.

Sunday, November 1: “One Royal Holiday”
Stars: Laura Osnes (“In the Key of Love”), Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables), Krystal Joy Brown (“Sydney to the Max”), Victoria Clark (“Homeland”) and Tom McGowan (“Everybody Loves Raymond”)
When Anna (Osnes) offers a stranded mother (Clark) and son (Tveit) shelter in a blizzard, she learns that they are the Royal Family of Galwick. Anna shows the Prince how they do Christmas in her hometown, encouraging him to open his heart and be true to himself.

Saturday, November 7: “Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater”
Stars: Ashley Williams (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”) and Niall Matter (“Christmas at Dollywood”)
Single mom Maggie (Williams) is facing Christmas alone until Lucas (Matter) crashes into her life and becomes an unexpected houseguest. Together they overcome Christmas while finding comfort in their growing bond.

Sunday, November 8: “On the 12th Date of Christmas”
Stars: Mallory Jansen (“Shooter”) and Tyler Hynes (“The Mistletoe Secret”)
Two seemingly incompatible game designers team up to create a romantic, city-wide scavenger hunt themed for the “12 Days of Christmas.”

Saturday, November 14: “Christmas in Vienna”
Stars: Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and Brennan Elliott (“Crossword Mysteries”)
Jess (Drew), a concert violinist whose heart just isn’t in it anymore, goes to Vienna for a performance. While there, she finds the inspiration she has been missing, and a new love.

Sunday, November 15: “A Timeless Christmas”
Stars: Ryan Paevey (“Christmas at the Plaza”) and Erin Cahill (“Love, Fall & Order”)
Charles Whitley (Paevey) travels from 1903 to 2020 where he meets Megan Turner (Cahill), a tour guide at his historic mansion, and experiences a 21st Century Christmas.

Saturday, November 21: “A Nashville Christmas Carol”
Stars: Jessy Schram (“Country at Heart”), Wes Brown (“Christmas at Graceland”), Wynonna Judd (The Judds), Sara Evans (“Nashville”), RaeLynn (“The Voice”), Kix Brooks (“Home by Spring”), Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“Darrow Mysteries”)
Vivienne Wake (Schram), a workaholic television producer in charge of a country music Christmas special showcasing newcomer Alexis (Raelynn), never lets personal feelings get in the way of business. On the verge of accepting a job in LA, and with the return of Gavin Chase (Brown), her childhood sweetheart and manager to the special’s headliner, Belinda (Evans), she receives a visit from the ghost of her recently deceased mentor, Marilyn (Judd). Her mentor warns her current path leads to a dark future and has recruited both the Spirit of Christmas Past (Brooks) and the Spirit of Christmas Present (Williams-Paisley) to help her get back on track. The Spirits’ time-jumping adventures force Vivienne to take hold of her life.

Sunday, November 22: “The Christmas House”
Stars: Robert Buckley (“One Tree Hill”), Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls), Ana Ayora (“In the Dark”), Treat Williams (“Chesapeake Shores”), Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue”) and Brad Harder (“Aurora Teagarden Mysteries”)
Working through some difficult decisions, Mitchell family matriarch Phylis (Lawrence) and patriarch Bill (Williams), have summoned their two grown sons – TV star, Mike Mitchell (Buckley) and Brandon Mitchell (Bennett) – home for the holidays. It is their hope that bringing the family together to recreate the Christmas house, will help them find resolution and make a memorable holiday for the entire family and community. As Brandon and his husband Jake (Harder) make the trip home, they are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child. Meanwhile, Mike reconnects with Andi (Ayora), his high school sweetheart.

Tuesday, November 24: “A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn”
Stars: Rochelle Aytes (“Mistresses”) and Mark Taylor (“Memories of Christmas”)
Erin (Aytes) is planning the town’s Christmas celebration and must win over firefighter Kevin (Taylor) in order to obtain the beautiful spruce tree from his property for the celebration.

Wednesday, November 25: “A Bright and Merry Christmas”
Stars: Alison Sweeney (“Days of Our Lives”) and Marc Blucas (“The Fix”)
Two competing TV hosts (Sweeney and Blucas) are sent to a festive small town over Christmas. While pretending to get along for the sake of appearances, they discover that there’s more to each other than they thought.

Thursday, November 26: “Five Star Christmas” (working title)
Stars: Bethany Joy Lenz (“Bottled with Love”) and Victor Webster (“MatchMaker Mysteries”) After moving back to her hometown, Lisa (Lenz) plots with her siblings and grandparents to help her father’s new bed and breakfast get a five-star review from an incognito travel critic (Webster), but ends up falling for him, not knowing he is the real critic.

Friday, November 27: “Christmas by Starlight”
Stars: Kimberley Sustad (“Travelers”) and Paul Campbell (“Battlestar Galactica”)
Annie (Sustad), a lawyer, must help her loved ones this holiday season. Her family’s restaurant, The Starlight Café, is slated for demolition. The heir to the development firm responsible, William (Campbell), makes her an unlikely proposition: he’ll spare the café if Annie spends the week “appearing” as the legal counsel his father is demanding he hire in the wake of some costly mistakes.

Saturday, November 28: “Christmas Waltz”
Stars: Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls), Will Kemp (“Royal Matchmaker”) and JT Church (“Dancing with the Stars: Juniors”)
After Avery’s (Chabert) storybook Christmas wedding is canceled unexpectedly, dance instructor Roman (Kemp) helps her rebuild her dreams.

Sunday, November 29: “If I Only Had Christmas”
Stars: Candace Cameron Bure (“Fuller House”) and Warren Christie (“The Color of Rain”)
At Christmas, a cheerful publicist (Bure) teams up with a cynical business owner (Christie) and his team to help a charity in need.

Saturday, December 5 “Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing”
Stars: Holly Robinson Peete (“A Family Christmas Gift”), Colin Lawrence (“Riverdale”), Rukiya Bernard (“One Winter Weekend”), Antonio Cayonne (“Fashionably Yours”) and Barbara Niven (“Chesapeake Shores”).
As Michelle’s (Peete) wedding approaches, Hannah (Bernard) steps up to help finish the launch of the new Evergreen museum while questioning her relationship and future with Elliot (Cayonne).

Sunday, December 6: “Christmas She Wrote”
Stars: Danica McKellar (“The Wonder Years”) and Dylan Neal (“Gourmet Detective: Roux the Day”)
When Kayleigh (McKellar), a romance writer, has her column cancelled right before Christmas, she heads home to reconnect with her family. Kayleigh gets an unexpected visit from the man (Neal) who cancelled her column who fights not only to bring her back to the publisher but also for her heart.

Saturday, December 12: “Cross Country Christmas”
Stars: Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That) and Greyston Holt (“Chesapeake Shores”)
Former classmates Lina (Cook) and Max (Holt) are traveling home for the holidays, until a storm hits and they have to work together to make it home in time, no matter the mode of transportation.

Sunday, December 13: “Christmas Comes Twice”
Stars: Tamera Mowry-Housley (“A Christmas Miracle”) and Michael Xavier (“Paris, Wine and Romance”)
Emily (Mowry-Housley) is a top newscaster who has achieved her career dreams but still has regrets about the guy (Xavier) who got away five years earlier. When the Christmas carnival comes to town, a ride around the carousel takes her magically back in time to the carnival five years before...giving her a second chance at love before she must return to Christmas present.

Saturday, December 19 “Christmas Carousel”
Stars: Rachel Boston (“Check Inn to Christmas”) and Neal Bledsoe (“Shameless”)
When Lila (Boston) is hired by the Royal Family of Marcadia to repair a carousel, she must work with the Prince (Bledsoe) to complete it by Christmas.

Sunday, December 20: “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!”
Stars: Mia Kirshner (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Ben Savage (“Boy Meets World”) and Marilu Henner (“Aurora Teagarden Mysteries”)
As Christina (Kirshner) prepares her restaurant for its busiest time of year, she gets back a DNA test revealing that she’s Jewish. The discovery leads her to a new family and an unlikely romance over eight nights.