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Lifetime casts real-life married gay couple in its first LGBTQ holiday movie

“The Christmas Set Up” features former “Arrow” star Ben Lewis and former “Parks and Recreation” actor Blake Lee.
Image: Blake Lee and Ben Lewis
Blake Lee, left, and Ben Lewis attend the opening of Center Theatre Group's "Falsettos" at Ahmanson Theatre on April 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif.Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images file

Lifetime is putting the final touches on its first holiday movie to feature an LGBTQ romance as the main storyline.

The network announced that the real-life same-sex married couple Ben Lewis and Blake Lee will star in the upcoming film “The Christmas Set Up,” with Fran Drescher and Ellen Wong among the other members of the cast.

“The world we create on camera should reflect the world we live in,” Amy Winter, Lifetime’s head of programming, said in a statement Monday.

In that same announcement, Winter also revealed the cast of “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” — the network’s first movie centered on an Asian American family, which will star Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux and Tzi Ma. Winter said the two films are part of the network’s larger efforts to bring more diverse stories to the screen.

“Our hope with these inclusive films and others is that people will see themselves while enjoying universally relatable holiday romances,” she said.

The Christmas Set Up” follows Hugo (Lewis), a New York lawyer, and his best friend, Madelyn (Wong), as Hugo spends the holidays in Milwaukee with his matchmaking mom, Kate (Drescher). When Kate sets Hugo up with Patrick (Lee), Hugo’s high school friend and secret crush, there is an undeniable, mutual attraction between the two. But when Hugo receives news of a job promotion in London, he must choose what is most important to him.

Social media users were quick to praise Lifetime’s casting decisions.

The forthcoming holiday romance follows last year's “Twinkle All the Way,” which showed a same-sex kiss between a couple named Lex (Brian Sills) and Danny (Mark Ghanimé). But this time around, Lifetime is putting the gay romance at the center of the story.

“The Christmas Set Up” and “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” will premiere during the annual “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” holiday lineup, which includes 30 new feature films this year. An official release date has not yet been set.

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