Hallmark has pledged to bring more LGBTQIA+ inclusive holiday films to their TV channel in the new year.
In a recent interview with The Wrap, the company’s Vice President of programming, Lisa Hamilton, revealed that diversity and inclusion are essential priorities for the company 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 are excited when we tell their stories,” she told the news outlet.
“I think it’s just smart business. There’s a lot of amazing people in the world with amazing stories, and we just want to be sure that we’re looking around and really including them.”
Towards the end of her interview, Hamilton expressed the importance of establishing emotional connections with viewers.
“We stay rooted in those essential elements that people are always going to find their way back to each other whether it’s a family or romantic couple or a group of friends,” she added.
Hamilton’s recent statement comes a few years after Hallmark’s parent company, Crown Media, first hinted at more LGBTQIA+ inclusion on the network.
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In a 2020 statement to NBC News, George Zaralidis – Crown Media’s Vice President of network programming publicity at the time – announced: “Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us, and we look forward to making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors.”
Since Zaralidis’ statement, the channel has slowly started to introduce more LGBTQIA+ characters in its films – like The Christmas House movies, The Holiday Sitter, and its Fall season-inspired film Notes of Autumn – which starred Bros actor Luke Macfarlane.
In November 2022, Hallmark staple and Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett praised the network for taking steps toward inclusivity, unlike other similar channels.
“I’m just proud to be part of Hallmark channel that is doing so much inclusive programming like the Holiday Sitter, which is an LGBTQ+ led Christmas movie,” he told E! News.
“I’m just so proud to be on Hallmark Channel that’s making these movies for everyone because Christmas is for everyone, and Hallmark channels are for everyone.
For this 2023 holiday season, Hallmark has treated viewers to not one but two LGBTQIA+-led films: Christmas on Cherry Lane – featuring Bennett and Vincent Rodriguez III – and Friends & Family Christmas – starring Ali Liebert and Humberly Gonzales.