When it comes to the Hallmark Channel’s stance on LGBTQ-inclusive programming, eight months can make a world of difference.
The network featured its first-ever same-sex wedding in a new movie, “Wedding Every Weekend,” which aired Saturday. Directed by Kevin Fair, the film follows two friends, Brooke (Kimberly Sustad) and Nate (Paul Campbell), who make a “buddy pact” to attend four weddings together as friends to avoid being set up with strangers. Among the four ceremonies they attend is that of couple Amanda (Makayla Moore) and Vicky (Carmel Amit).
“It really reflects the world that we live in now,” Moore said of the film, as seen in a behind-the-scenes clip released by the Hallmark Channel. “It’s exciting to celebrate love in all its forms.”
“Wedding Every Weekend” aired weeks after network execs announced that they were in “active negotiations” to ensure holiday films produced for the Hallmark Channel’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” and “Miracles of Christmas” lineups would include LGBTQ narratives.
“Diversity and inclusion [are] 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,” George Zaralidis, vice president of network program publicity at Hallmark’s parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, told HuffPost in an email at the time. “We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
The Hallmark Channel shared a similar sentiment on social media last week after a Twitter user argued the network had “caved to a few people” by including a same-sex couple in “Wedding Every Weekend.”
We are proud of our movie, Wedding Every Weekend. Our priority at Hallmark Channel is to develop a broad mix of content, characters and stories in order to create a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.
— Hallmark Channel (@hallmarkchannel) August 10, 2020
In December 2019, the network sparked backlash when it pulled four commercials for the wedding registry site Zola that featured same-sex couples kissing.
At first, Hallmark officials responded to the outcry by claiming the ads had been “deemed controversial” and thus violated company policy, but later apologized and returned the clips to the airwaves.
Earlier this month, Lifetime announced a slate of 30 new holiday movies that will include “The Christmas Setup,” which will focus on two gay men, and “A Sugar & Spice Holiday,” about a Chinese American family.
Catch a preview for “Wedding Every Weekend” below.
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