Lifestyle & Human Interest

Hallmark's 'Countdown to Christmas' Movie Lineup Is Finally Out, And Some People Aren't Happy About It


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Few things say “Christmas is coming” like Hallmark announcing its staggering list of holiday content.

Like clockwork, they’ve announced this year’s offerings: 40 brand-new movies, three featured every weekend starting Oct. 21.

In a video promo released in July, Hallmark stated that this year’s lineup is “sweater than ever.”

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“‘Tis the season for festive fun!” the Countdown to Christmas Facebook page shared on Sept. 22.

“Countdown to Christmas on Hallmark Channel and Miracles of Christmas on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries begin Oct 21 with 40 all new original movies! Download our handy programming guide and join in the holiday cheer.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Hallmark was heralded by all for its family-friendly, cozy, inoffensive content — but as the years have passed, some of their stalwart viewership has started to grow concerned.

Many of its more religious fans who enjoyed cozying up to new characters in comfortingly familiar scenarios have drawn a line when it comes to the couples Hallmark has chosen to focus on.

Three years ago, after some commented that no Hallmark movies had yet given a LGBTQ couple the starring role, executive vice president of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, Michelle Vicary, said that would be changing in the future.

“We are continuing to expand our diversity,” Vicary told TheWrap at the time. “We are looking at pitches for LGBTQ movies … and we are looking to expand and represent the United States as a whole.”

Petitions were circulated. Viewers threatened to take their business elsewhere. It seemed that a large fanbase was poised to jump ship, and this year, Hallmark announced its first-ever gay couple as the stars of one of the holiday’s pictures.

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“Sam is a workaholic bachelor who babysits his niece and nephew before the holidays when his sister and her husband have to go out of town,” Hallmark’s blurb on the flick read.

“Completely out of his element, he recruits help from their handsome neighbor Jason and finds himself in an unexpected romance.”

As a result, some have refused to watch Hallmark movies anymore and have instead migrated to other providers, including Great American Family (formerly known as Great American Country).

Great American Family offers a startlingly similar array of lighthearted rom-com and Christmas films, and even convinced the “queen of Christmas” herself, actress Candace Cameron Bure, to join them.

In September, Bure told Variety that she made the switch to pursue the more “trusted,” “wholesome” and “family-friendly” films being made for Great American Family.

While they’re a bit of the new kid on the block and aren’t as widely available as their competition, they’re promising viewers an alternative that will “celebrate faith, family and country,” according to their Facebook page.

How about you — will you be watching Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas this year, or have you taken your business elsewhere?

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