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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hallmark's "Countdown to Christmas" News Revealed!

Futon Critic Reveals...

[via press release from The Hallmark Channel]

IN 2016


Paul Greene and  Lacey Chabert - image via: Instagram
Hallmark Channel's 'A Wish for Christmas'

Annual 'Christmas Keepsake' Holiday Preview Returns Featuring the World Premiere of "A Perfect Christmas"
Starring Susie Abromeit, Dillon Casey and Erin Gray on Saturday, July 16 at 9pm ET/PT

STUDIO CITY, CA - June 8, 2016 - Summer may be in the air, but with only 200 days until Christmas, Hallmark Channel begins plans for its flagship programming event Countdown to Christmas, with production commencing on 11 original movie titles set to premiere Holiday 2016. Cementing itself as the #1 viewing destination for holiday, Hallmark Channel's 2016 Countdown to Christmas will feature 18 original movies and over 1500 hours of programming, starring fan favorites Lori Loughlin, Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, Brooke Shields and more.

Although Countdown to Christmas will officially start October 29, 2016, Hallmark Channel will treat viewers to a sneak-peek preview of what's in store for the season with its annual programming event Christmas Keepsake, featuring original holiday movies Friday, July 8 to Sunday, July 17, including network favorites "Christmas Under Wraps," "Crown For Christmas," "Christmas Detour," "A Christmas Melody" and many more. The event is highlighted by the world premiere of the all-new original holiday movie, "A Perfect Christmas" on Saturday, July 16 at 9pm ET/PT starring Susie Abromeit, Dillon Casey and Erin Gray.

"Hallmark Channel is the number one holiday destination with more original Christmas content than any other network. This year's 'Countdown to Christmas' is set to be another top-rated, blockbuster event," said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming, Crown Media Family Networks. "This is only the beginning as we continue to build towards our biggest time of the year, with substantially more production and casting news for the 2016 holiday slate yet to come."

Following are the Hallmark Channel original holiday movies going into production. Please note the below are working titles.


After enduring a horrible break-up with the man she thought she was destined to marry, Fiona Williams takes a trip to her parents' inn for Christmas. Holiday festivities and family bonding seem to be the only thing on the menu, but then Fiona's ex checks in to the inn with a new woman on his arm. Stuck between a rock and mistletoe, Fiona saves face by making the inn's opinionated and care-free cook her new "boyfriend" in hopes of making her ex jealous.


Several days before Christmas, a reclusive author Andrew rents an isolated cabin in order to finish his long overdue novel. Just as Andrew is settling in, a young nurse named Holly, her daughter and wisecracking mother become stranded nearby. Andrew takes in the three unwanted guests and due to a heavy snowstorm, they end up staying through Christmas. The energetic young nurse breaks down Andrew's anti-social defenses. They soon find themselves involved in a number of festive activities, including chopping down a Christmas tree, a snowball fight, playing charades and gatherings around the dinner table. But the sudden arrival of Holly's ex-husband complicates matters and threatens her blossoming romance with Andrew.


Stars: Jaime Pressley ("My Name is Earl")

When Maggie Marks (Pressley) faces a tough career decision, she flees to Europe for some soul searching and sightseeing with a friend over the holidays. There she encounters a handsome European playboy prince and lands herself in a world she has never known where she finds a new direction in life, while teaching him to be a better prince along the way.


Stars: Lacey Chabert ("Party of Five," "Mean Girls"), Paul Greene ("A Christmas Detour")

Sara Shaw (Chabert) is the type of woman who prefers to sit on the sidelines at work, but when her big idea for a Christmas initiative is stolen, she makes a wish to Santa that she'll finally have the courage to stand up for herself. Santa grants her wish but only gives her 48 hours. She is able to reveal to Peter Williams (Greene), the handsome owner of her company, that her boss stole her idea. When Peter selects her to present the pitch to a difficult client they end up having to drive to the White Ridge Ski Resort, which happens to be Peter's hometown. Once there, Sarah sets out to show Peter the magic of Christmas. With all this time together, they wonder if there's more to this relationship than business. But as the clock ticks down on Sara's wish, she'll have to find a way to channel the Christmas magic and speak her mind on her own... or risk losing everything.


Isobel Gray plans a storybook Christmas with her boyfriend, including a snow-covered cottage in the Northwest, and a carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions. But when the boyfriend goes AWOL, the list proves challenging and a tempting new romance turns her life upside down. Will Isobel have a White Christmas ending under the mistletoe?


Stars: Lori Loughlin ("When Calls the Heart," "Fuller House"), Colin Ferguson ("Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove," "Eureka")

When a TV personality (Loughlin) has an on-air snafu and admits she hates Christmas, she is invited to the Most Christmas-y town in the US to try and repair her image. Forced to work with her ex-boyfriend Jack (Ferguson), the show's producer, the magic of Christmas and this special town will change the way she views Christmas and her life.


Stars: Jessica Lowndes ("90210"), (Daniel Lissing ("When Calls the Heart")

Layla O'Reilly (Lowndes) is bound and determined to attend her cousin's Christmastime wedding with a man on her arm - especially since her cousin is marrying her ex-fiancΓ©. Seth Murphy (Lissing) is the only guy available, who Layla dislikes since he introduced the bride and groom. But since Seth is able to help Layla with her interior design business she and Seth stage being a newly engaged couple. As Layla helps Seth makeover a house for a Christmas decorating contest, Layla discovers Seth is not who he seems to be and that he has had a secret crush on her for years. Is it possible the man of her dreams has been in her midst all this time? She just might get her wish of becoming a December bride. Based on the book by bestselling author Denise Hunter.


Stars: Brooke Shields ("Flower Shop Mystery")

Joy Edwards (Shields), host of a wildly successful cooking show "Joy to the World," must scramble to assemble a fake family when the network insists on doing a live Christmas episode from her house. Before long, she realizes her fake family is the Christmas gift she always wanted.


Stars: Jill Wagner ("Wipeout"), Wes Brown ("True Blood," "Hart of Dixie")

After Aunt Sally's Christmas Cookie Company is sold to a large conglomerate, executive Hannah (Wagner) must seal the deal and shut down the factory , which is the small town of Cookie Jar's lifeblood. The residents know their beloved little hamlet will soon dry up and everyone will move away. What was supposed to be a simple assignment for Hannah becomes complicated when she meets Jake (Brown), the factory owner determined to find a way to keep the factory in town and holds her at bay. Despite not being a fan of the holiday, the Christmas spirit in this small town is infectious and she gets swept up in the joy of the season while also falling for Jake. Will love make Hannah risk her job to save Cookie Jar?

AKA: Picture Perfect Christmas

Stars: Danica McKellar ("Wonder Years")

Christina Masters (McKellar), the manager of a flagship department store, is overjoyed when she finds out her company is hiring a new manager for the Paris store and is looking to promote from within. This is a dream job and the ever-ambitious Christina sets out to impress with holiday decorations galore. Things change, though, when her heart is won over by a little boy who asks the storefront Santa for help in finding his dad a new job. As it turns out, Christina has just fired this man for being late one too many times but she now realizes he is a single parent just trying his best to take care of his son. Christina is bound and determined to make things right and, to her surprise, finds herself falling in love. When Christina wows with this year's Christmas decorations and wins the dream job, she has a tough choice to make as she learns the true meaning of happiness.

AKA: I'll be home for Christmas

UPDATE: June 24, 2016: According to an article on BroadwayWorld.com, this movie will air on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries!

Stars: James Brolin ("Hotel," "Catch Me If You Can"), Mena Suvari and young Giselle Eisenberg

Jackie Foster is smart, organized and professional. She has the perfect life...until her dad, Jack (Brolin), a retired cop who is crusty on the outside but a softy on the inside, returns home. He reluctantly agrees to stay for Christmas, and despite the baggage he brings - a dog, beat-up motorhome and some old wounds - they ultimately reconnect as a family and share a warm, love-filled holiday. Not only that, but Jack introduces her to a detective that helps Jackie avoid a potentially disastrous match with the wrong man.


Crown Media Family Networks is the umbrella unit subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, Inc., housing cable's leading family friendly networks, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, as well as their corresponding digital extensions HallmarkChannel.com and HallmarkMoviesandMysteries.com. The company operates and distributes both channels in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) with Hallmark Channel available to 90 million subscribers and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in 66 million homes in the United States. Hallmark Channel features an ambitious slate of original content, including movies; scripted series, such as When Calls the Heart, and Good Witch; annual specials like Hero Dog Awards and Kitten Bowl; world premieres of Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations, and a daily 2-hour lifestyle show, Home & Family. Hallmark Channel is also home to annual holiday franchise, Countdown to Christmas, featuring a lineup of 24/7 holiday programming. Rounding out the networks' lineup are television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Middle, Little House on the Prairie, and Frasier. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is a 24-hour digital cable network featuring a unique mix of original movies and acquired series focused on the lighter side of the suspense and mystery genres. The network also features its own annual holiday programming franchise, the Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas, as well as presentations from the award-winning Hallmark Hall of Fame library. Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube

*press release via: thefutoncritic.com


  1. Joyce in CarolinaThursday, June 09, 2016

    Awesome news Net! As always, you keep us informed! Thanks for all you do! Love this blog!!

    1. You are sooooo welcome, Joyce! All my joy! And, I appreciate when you all share movie news, too!

      Thank you for saying you "love this blog!!". You are so sweet!

  2. This is great news. On October 29th my kitchen tv will never turn off. I love Christmas.

    1. Come October 29th, I only turn my station from one Hallmark station to another! I love Christmas, too!

  3. Sherry In CaliforniaThursday, June 09, 2016

    For anyone reading along here, I will add in (because Net hasn't had time to add the info to the Christmas Movie News 2016 just yet) that actress Rachel Boston (who will be in this weekend's "Stop the Wedding") is also doing a new Christmas movie. She said she is developing it right now.

    I found out about Rachel, Danica McKellar and Lori Loughlin all doing Christmas movies earlier this week (and I had Lori's movie title figured out), so I was surprised to see that Danica and Lori were mentioned in the Futon Critic press release, but Rachel was left out.

    Also -- and this info IS on Net's Christmas Movies 2016 list -- let us not forget that both Candace Cameron Bure and Ashley Williams are supposed to be doing new Christmas movies. I'm not sure if their movies are included in the Futon Critic press release (there are a few titles without lead actresses attached), or if they will be totally separate projects.

    Likewise, Lisa Whelchel supposedly did a Christmas movie (a while back) and I'm not sure if it's one of the ones named in the press release, or if it was just left off of the press release but will air on Hallmark anyway.

    And then... the movie "Christmas in the Red" (which is on Net's Christmas Movies list) is something that I truly did not think would be a Hallmark film when I discovered it. To me, it felt very Lifetime-ish, and it was/is being filmed out here in California (at least in part), so it didn't fit with Hallmark's usual filming locations. Now, however, I wonder if "Christmas in the Red" is actually the movie listed as "A Family for Christmas" on the press release. The "Family" title would have to change because there is already a Hallmark movie with that title. So maybe the title Hallmark will go with is "Christmas in the Red."

    "Christmas Cookies" is the movie that used to be known as "The Last Christmas."

    Other titles I expect to change:

    --A Prince for Christmas (ION has a movie with that title from just last year)

    -- A Wish for Christmas (because Lifetime has a movie with that title coming out this year)

    1. Thank you for adding that info, Sherry! You are so right - I've been very busy this week and this weekend with family events - so I will try to jump in here the rest of this week - when possible!

      I am excited to hear Rachel Boston is doing a Christmas movie, but which one, as you mentioned... is a Mystery!?!?! I'm surprised, too, that it wasn't revealed! Especially with her starring in 'Stop the Wedding', which is premiering this weekend on the Hallmark Channel!!!

      Also, it is indeed something that so many of these movies have THE EXACT SAME WORKING TITLES!!! Especially, I am surprised with 'Family for Christmas' since it was the actual name of the previous Hallmark Christmas movie with Lacey Chabertlast year! Since the other SAME TITLED MOVIES were or will be on other networks - they may or may not change them. For instance, there are more than one - 'I'll be home for Christmas' and 'All I Want for Christmas'.

      UP recently sent out a survey asking what they should name one of their upcoming Christmas movies. One of the choices was Baby's First Christmas, which I let them know had previously been used for a Hallmark movie. In the end, they chose 'Merry Christmas, Baby'.

      Should be interesting and fun to see what changes and what remains the same!!!

    2. Sherry In CaliforniaThursday, June 09, 2016

      The "I'll Be Home for Christmas" movies were not released in the same year, or within a year of each other, nor were the "All I Want for Christmas" movies. There was at least some time that passed between them.

      It is highly, highly, highly unlikely that both Hallmark AND Lifetime would have movies of the same title debuting in the same year. It's not going to happen. One of them will change the title, and I think we know who is more likely to change a title! ;) Truly, it doesn't benefit Lifetime OR Hallmark to have movies of the same name premiering in the same year. Viewers will get confused and end up going to the competitor's channel. They don't want that to happen.

      And the "Prince for Christmas" movie was new on ION as of last year. Again, it wouldn't benefit Hallmark to have a movie of the same name debut only one year later, as people will get confused and find their way to ION. It will change.

      I got the UP survey too. Even if they had used "Baby's First Christmas," there have been several years that have passed since Hallmark's movie of the same name premiered, but it was better to err on the side of caution and avoid that title.

      Yes, so many mysteries still remain unsolved! At this point, I just want to know the story behind the photo of Autumn Reeser and the kitten in front of the Christmas decorations! Lol. That is one mystery that has lingered for the entire first half of this year, and I must have an answer! Lol.

    3. How many movies are Hallmark Channel supposed to release all together? And how many HMM are there supposed to be? And let's not forget about "A Snow Capped Christmas", "A Puppy for Christmas", "Operation Christmas", and "Love Always, Santa! They fit in here somewhere too!

    4. Sherry In CaliforniaFriday, June 10, 2016

      Oh, I haven't forgotten anything! Net will tell you that I am very thorough in covering the details of which movies have been made and which ones have yet to be made (not just Christmas movies, but non-Christmas movies too), which ones might be one and the same movie, which ones have received title changes, etc.

      By the way, "A Puppy for Christmas" is not a definite Hallmark movie. We *think* it is -- it almost certainly will end up on Hallmark -- but we won't know for sure until Hallmark announces it as part of their line-up. Despite what was believed when it was filming, Cindy Busby later said that she was not sure if the movie would go to Hallmark. She said it will air in Canada, and that she wouldn't be surprised if it airs on Hallmark because it's a Christmas movie. But she just didn't know (at the point she was asked about it) if it would definitely be a Hallmark film.

      Some movies are made specifically by and for Hallmark, and Hallmark is involved in them from the start. Other movies are made and either Hallmark or someone else might acquire them and claim them as their own. I think they probably acquired "A Puppy for Christmas," most likely.

      As for how many movies there are supposed to be all together, it's hard to say because we don't yet know what's being done with HMM. If the number of new movies to go to HMM increases, then HMM might get 5 or 6 new ones (up from 4 last year).

      So, let's just assume, for the sake of conversation, that there are only 4 new Christmas movies on HMM this year. Then, forgetting about the specifics of which of the 2 Hallmark channels will get which movie and just looking at it in the bigger picture... Hallmark would have to churn out about 22 Christmas movies to include the "18" mentioned in the press release. It could be assumed that one of the 18 new movies is the one that is premiering in July, leaving us 21 new ones for the holiday season.

      Right now, if I just took all of the titles and details I know and listed off all of the movies that Hallmark is definitely showing, along with the ones that I *think* will be Hallmark's movies, then we have already hit the 21 or 22 number.

      BUT... as I indicated above, it is possible that a couple of titles that we think will go to Hallmark might not... It's also possible that a couple of movies that didn't seem like they would go to Hallmark will, indeed, end up on Hallmark. It's possible that a film that has one title right now might end up getting another title down the road, and two titles that we know of could end up being the same movie. It's possible that some of the plot synopses without actors' names currently attached might end up being the movies we expect from Rachel Boston, or Ashley Williams... or they could be separate movies.

      In other words, there are a lot of moving parts involved in figuring out the mysteries of Hallmark's movies, and things change frequently. So it makes it hard to know exactly how many more movies have to be made to meet the 21 or 22 number (or more than 22!) that we will get between the 2 channels.

  4. Me too, Eddie, just reading all the reviews of some of the new Christmas movies has made me so ready for it right now!! LOL!! I love that Lacey and Paul Greene has been cast in "A wish For Christmas" and so many of our favorites will be with us again this year.....thanks, Net!!

    1. Awww, me too... Linda & Eddie!!! I love it!!!

      Hallmark Christmas movies are as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold day! My station never turns either come October 29th! We need a little Christmas now!!! Thank You, both!

  5. Ya know....every year I've always looked forward to Hallmark's Christmas movies. However, as each new year comes, it bothers me more and more how Hallmark refuses to be diverse in their lead casting.

    This channel has SUCH a lack of conscience when it comes to racial and cultural inclusivity! That, or they are fully aware that they lack diversity and simply don't see the need for inclusion, which is what I truly believe. You make COUNTLESS (COUNTLESS!) movies every year, and NOT A ONE has a person of color as the lead, Hallmark?!?! Really! It's absolutely ridiculous. Not only Caucasian females and males experience love, laughter, joy, hope, tragedy, loss, etc. during the holidays (or any time of the year for that matter!).

    I like Lacey Chabert, Wes Brown, Jill Wagner and some other regular Hallmark faces we've come to know. However, there are PLENTY of actors of color that I could easily fit into the same roles that would make the movie equally as enjoyable. Unfortunately, they aren't given the opportunity, because, well, apparently diversity isn't important to Hallmark. And to have the slogan be "The Heart of TV".....

  6. QVC Christmas in July

    July 1, 2016 @ 12:00 am -12:00 am

  7. Food Network

    Halloween Wars
    October 2, 2016

    Christmas Wars
    November 6, 2016

  8. Sherry In CaliforniaThursday, June 09, 2016

    I just posted a comment about the movie titles and why they will change this year, and I forgot to comment on one very important part of the press release -- the start date of the Countdown!

    I had been thinking for a while that Hallmark would either go with a 10/29-10/30-ish start date, OR an 11/4 start date. I knew they would not start on 10/31 or 11/1 this year because those days are Monday and Tuesday, respectively. There is no way Hallmark would start their biggest event of the whole year on a Monday or a Tuesday -- especially not a Tuesday -- when half of the viewers wouldn't even be able to tune in. They always aim for Fri-Sat-Sun as the kickoffs of these assorted themed movie events, with a new movie premiere on one of those nights.

    So I would expect that we will either get a new movie on 10/29 or on 10/30, but probably not 2 new movies that weekend. Hallmark seems to like to start off with one new movie.

    The question is, on that first weekend of the Countdown, will it be an actual Christmas movie they premiere, or will it be a sort of 'bridge' movie that serves as a segue between Fall Harvest and the Countdown to Christmas -- in other words, a Thanksgiving movie? I would have to assume that they are once again doing Thanksgiving Week, with 5 consecutive nights of new movies, so it would seem weird to premiere a Thanksgiving movie at the end of October instead of during Thanksgiving Week... but stranger things have happened.

    Also of note -- included in the 1500+ hours of holiday programming will be a Washington, D.C. National Christmas Tree lighting special.

    And... if Hallmark airs the Rose Parade in 2017 (which they should, since Mark Steines will be one of the hosts and he is a Hallmark fixture), it's important to note that the Rose Parade will air on January 2, 2017 (Monday), and NOT on Sunday, January 1st. The Rose Parade never takes place on a Sunday, even if it is January 1st.

    So, will Hallmark continue the Christmas movies after the Parade on January 2nd, or will they air the last Christmas movie on the night of January 1st? I am thinking they will end the movies on the night of the 1st.

  9. Thanks for the great news, Net!


  10. Has anybody herd if they were making another "Northpole"movie

    1. Not yet... but as Bailey says in the movie - "I'm all ears"!!!

      For the other two Northpole movies, they announced them right away and filmed them with real snow in Canada, so I'm kind of guessing if they decide to do one again, then may wait to film it with real snow.

      That's just a hunch, but I personally would love to see them do another... as I also shared here:

      Thanks for your question, Stan!

  11. Has anyone heard of any more Christmas movies from past years being released on dvd? RG

  12. I love Christmas and look forward to the Countdown to Christmas every year! My television will be tuned in to Hallmark Movie Channel nonstop starting October 29th.


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