Actor Jonathan Bennett attends Christmas Con 2022 in California. (Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)
Christmas has come early as Hallmark Channel has announced its first queer-led festive film, and it’s exactly what LGBTQ+ fans have been crying out for.
The channel has shared its Countdown to Christmas event schedule, as reported by Variety, and although it predictably features the usual straight suspects, it also includes the channel’s first-ever film with a leading LGBTQ+ couple.
The Holiday Sitter will be shown on 11 December and according to its summary viewers can expect to indulge in lots of romance, but perhaps not so much reality.
The movie’s longline states viewers will follow protagonist Sam, who is a workaholic bachelor, as he offers to “babysit his niece and nephew before the holidays when his sister and her husband have to go out of town”.
Realising he is “completely out of his element” Sam goes looking for help. Thankfully handsome neighbour Jason is on-hand to assist, and Sam “finds himself in an unexpected romance”.
Starring in the film is Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett, George Krissa and Chelsea Hobbs.
Bennett posted on Instagram to share his excitement for the film, saying it “will make history as the first leading gay couple in a Hallmark Christmas move ever”.
He added: “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.
“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. Dec 11 will be a very special day.”
The announcement of this trailblazing production follows gay Twitter calling out for Hallmark Channel to include LGBTQ+ characters in its films in 2019.
In that same year, The Wrap reported that, of the channel’s 40 new festive films, not one featured a gay lead.
Thankfully Hallmark’s parent company, Crown Media, seemed to listen to the LGBTQ+ community’s want for queer-themed Christmas content, and in 2020 it promised to increase queer representation in its movies.
The Holiday Sitter is not the channel’s first film to feature LGBTQ+ characters though, as 2020’s The Christmas House, also starring Bennett, did just that.
Following this movie’s success, Bennett went on to create a sequel named The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls.