Hallmark pledges more ‘queer-forward’ Christmas movies in 2024

Hallmark Media Christmas Movies

It’s officially the holiday season and Hallmark’s Christmas present to viewers is a promise to make more “queer-forward” festive films in 2024.

The beloved TV channel known for its deliciously cheesy romance and family films is back with even more wholesome, charming formulaic Christmas films this year, and the team is already getting prepped for next year.

Hallmark’s 2024 schedule is set to be its most “diverse” yet, according to the company’s vice president of programming, Lisa Hamilton Daly.

Speaking to The Wrap, Daly said that the Hallmark crew have already decided on their 2024 projects – and they’ll mark a major change for the company.

With inclusivity being a “core goal” for the new year, Hallmark plan on producing more “queer-forward” movies in 2024.

“We really want people to be able to see themselves in our movies, and we know that people seeing themselves means that there’s a wider range of people who really are excited when we tell their stories,” she explained.

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The channel has already gotten the ball rolling with 2023 films like Christmas on Cherry Lane and Friends & Family Christmas.

The former, starring Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett, will tell the story of three couples – including one gay couple – at different stages of their lives celebrating the holidays at 7 Cherry Lane.

The latter, starring Hallmark favourite Ali Liebert, will follow a lesbian romance between photographer Dani and lawyer Amelia, who pretend to date to keep Dani’s parents happy – only for real feelings to develop.

Bennett, who came out as gay in 2020, spoke to Out earlier this year about the Hallmark Channel’s “movement” towards more inclusive films.

Jonathan Bennett
Jonathan Bennett stars as one half of a queer couple in Hallmark movie Christmas on Cherry Lane. (Getty Images)

“It feels like such an honor to kind of forge this movement in the holiday movie space. And the reason I’m doing it is because I think it’s so important that everyone knows that Christmas is for everybody, you know?” he said.

The actor, who also starred in Hallmark’s first LGBTQ+ Christmas film The Holiday Sitter, continued: “The Hallmark Channel is for everyone; The Holiday Sitter is for everybody. So to be a part of this movement that is making sure that the people watching these amazing Christmas movies feel like they’re represented on-screen…is so important.”

Last month, Daly spoke to Vulture about Hallmark’s plans for more projects that represent the diversity of America, describing it as a “work in progress.”

She told the publication that, at the end of the day, it was important for the channel to stay true to its brand of sweet, easily digestible programming, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be inclusive of all walks of life.

“Our movies are about romances,” she said. 

“They’re not issue-driven movies. Those are not the stories we’re telling. 

“So I think it’s a constant evolution of, “How do we this in a way that works for our brand and our audience?’”

Christmas on Cherry Lane is out now on the Hallmark Channel, while Friends & Family Christmas drops on Sunday, 17 December.

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