First Look at Lifetime's Holiday Slate: 'One Tree Hill' Reunion; TV Movies With 'Grey's,' '7th Heaven' Stars
By Philiana Ng
Lifetime is gearing up for the holidays in a big way.
This year, the cable network will roll out their biggest block of holiday programming yet, premiering 14 new original TV movies, including the One Tree Hill cast-led The Christmas Contract; launching four acquired films; setting a One Tree Hill reunion special and re-airing five classic Christmas favorites, as part of its annual "It's a Wonderful Lifetime" campaign.
The Yuletide festivities officially kick off Wednesday, Nov. 21 with My Christmas Inn, which reunites Sister, Sister stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Jackee Harry and Tim Reid. Lifetime will then dedicate an entire evening to One Tree Hill nostalgia on Thursday, Nov. 22 with The Christmas Contract, which brings together Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles and Antwon Tanner, along with a musical performance from Tyler Hilton. The original movie will be followed by a One Tree Hill reunion special with Burton, Hilton, Ackles and Stephen Colletti (and some special guests), called 'Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion.
Other notable TV movies include Christmas Pen Pals (Dec. 15) led by former Grey's Anatomy star Sarah Drew; two films starring 7th Heaven alums Beverley Mitchell (Hometown Christmas, Dec. 16) and Barry Watson (A Very Nutty Christmas with Melissa Joan Hart, Nov. 30); Pointsettias for Christmas (Nov. 23), featuring One Tree Hill's Bethany Joy Lenz; and originals with Toni and Towanda Braxton (Every Day is Christmas, Nov. 24) and Tatyana Ali (Jingle Belle, Nov. 25).
Lifetime's holiday kick-off will feature five nights of premieres the week of Nov. 21, with subsequent weeks featuring new movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s a Wonderful Lifetime is back in a major way with more hours of holiday programming than we have ever had before,” said Tanya Lopez, Executive Vice President of Movies, Limited Series and Original Movie Acquisitions at Lifetime and LMN. “By stacking our originals with beloved stars from some of the most iconic television shows we grew up with, we are tapping into the nostalgic feelings of familiarity and comfort that everyone wants for the holidays.”
For the complete rundown on each of the 14 original Lifetime holiday offerings (and that One Tree Hill reunion special!) -- plus the first photo from 11 of the TV movies -- see below.
My Christmas Inn
Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Tia Mowry-Hardict, Rob Mayes, Jackée Harry, Tim Reid & Erin Gray
With the holiday season in full swing, Jen Taylor (Tia Mowry-Hardict) is about to score a big promotion at the San Francisco ad agency where she works. But her life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she inherits a cozy inn in Alaska from her aunt. When she goes to inspect the property and meets handsome town attorney Steve Anderson (Rob Mayes), she’s surprised to find that nothing is what she expected. The small town community is full of fun and festive Christmas traditions and soon, Jen starts wondering if the inn might just be the place she belongs, and if Steve could be the Mr. Right she has been waiting for.
The Christmas Contract
Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner, Jordan Ladd, Cheryl Ladd, Bruce Boxleitner, Jason London, Hunter Burke, Teri Wyble & Ritchie Montgomery; with special musical appearance from Tyler Hilton
It’s Jolie’s (Hilarie Burton) first time going back home to Louisiana since her devastating break up with Foster (Hunter Burke). Seeing him is inevitable, as their parents run the town’s annual Christmas Market together, but when she discovers Foster is bringing home a new girlfriend, Jolie cannot bear the thought of going home alone and seeing them together. Her best friend Naomi (Danneel Ackles) suggests that Jolie bring her flaky brother, Jack (Robert Buckley), home for Christmas as he has no plans this year. Jolie, a professional web designer, is hesitant; so, Naomi, a lawyer, creates a Christmas contract to give them both something they want -- a buffer for those awkward moments around Jolie’s ex and a website to help sell Jack’s upcoming novel. Unbeknownst to them, the Christmas contract proves to be so much more than what they signed up for.
'Tis the Season: A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion
Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Featuring Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner & Stephen Colletti
The Tree Hill Ravens are back together to celebrate the Christmas season on Lifetime. In this special one-hour reunion, Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Danneel Ackles, Antwon Tanner of The Christmas Contract and Stephen Colletti of Hometown Christmas, reunite for a special evening that will include a few surprise special guests.
Poinsettias for Christmas
Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Bethany Joy Lenz, Marcus Rosner, Lauren London, Sharon Lawrence & John Schneider
It's just weeks before Christmas when Ellie (Bethany Joy Lenz) gets a call to return home to help her father (John Schneider) on the family’s poinsettia farm. The family business is on the line to deliver tens of thousands of plants for the town's annual parade. The problem is -- the poinsettias have yet to turn red! As Ellie searches for the solution, she is reminded of where her heart truly lies as she falls in love with both her roots and a local botanist (Marcus Rosner).
Every Day Is Christmas
Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Toni Braxton, Gloria Reuben, Towanda Braxton & Michael Jai White
Inspired by the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, shrewd money manager Alexis Taylor (Toni Braxton) gets the holiday visit of a lifetime. A self-proclaimed workaholic who "humbugs" love, Alexis ends up embracing the spirit of Christmas when her past, present, and future collide, forcing her to risk the one thing money can’t buy: her heart.
Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Tatyana Ali, Cornelius Smith Jr., Loretta Devine, Valarie Pettiford, Obba Babatunde, Keshia Knight Pulliam & Tempestt Bledsoe
Every year, Isabelle (Tatyana Ali) and her high school sweetheart, Mike (Cornelius Smith Jr.), rocked their small town’s annual Christmas Eve Pageant with a sweet Christmas duet. But after graduation, Isabelle left to study at Juillard in New York -- leaving Mike behind. Years later, when Isabelle returns to her hometown to write music for the annual Christmas Eve Pageant, she is shocked to learn that Mike is the one directing the show. Can Isabelle and Mike put the past behind them and reunite on stage for another show-stopping duet?
A Very Nutty Christmas
Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Barry Watson, Marissa Winokur, Conchata Ferrell & Rizwan Manji
Hard-working bakery owner Kate Holiday (Melissa Joan Hart), has more cookie orders than she has time to fill this holiday season, and when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her, any shred of Christmas joy she was hanging onto immediately disappears. After Kate hangs the last ornament on the tree and goes to bed, she awakens the next morning to a little bit of Christmas magic. She gets the surprise of her life when Chip (Barry Watson), a handsome soldier who may or may not be the Nutcracker Prince from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, appears in her living room.
A Twist of Christmas
Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Vanessa Lachey & Brendon Zub
In the frenzy before Christmas, two single parents -- busy working mom Abby (Vanessa Lachey) and overwhelmed lawyer Ryan (Brendon Zub) accidentally mix up their toys at a crowded department store. As a result, both of their Christmases appear to be ruined. Although the two can’t stand each other, the only way to get things back on track is to help each other salvage their holiday plans – not realizing they're falling for each other in the process.
The Christmas Pact
Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Kyla Pratt, Jarod Joseph, Kadeem Hardison & Jasmine Guy
Can best friends fall in love? That's the question next door neighbors Sadie (Kyla Pratt) and Ben (Jarod Joseph) will answer as they keep the spirit of Christmas and the magic of their childhood pact alive! When they were eight years old, the pair planted a scrawny 3-foot tall Christmas tree behind their church and the Christmas Pact began. But, as life gets in the way, the pact is threatened to be broken. Ben and Sadie need some Christmas Magic to recommit to each other and promise to keep their special holiday traditions. With each Christmas that passes by, Ben and Sadie's Christmas tree grows taller and stronger; and so does their love. The pact bearing fruit to the magic of Christmas and the undeniable answer: Yes, friends can fall in love!
Christmas Lost and Found
Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Tiya Sircar, Ed Ruttle & Diane Ladd
After years of missing family gatherings, New York City event planner Whitney Kennison (Tiya Sircar) is off to Chicago to spend Christmas with Grandma Frances (Diane Ladd). Excited that her granddaughter is finally home for the holidays, Frances decides to bestow Whitney with the precious Kennison family Christmas ornaments. But when Whitney mistakenly throws out the box of ornaments, Grandma Frances must stealthily devise a fun Christmas scavenger hunt to remind Whitney what the holiday is all about. It's a race against time as Whitney reclaims the family ornaments, finds romance and learns the lesson Grandma Frances imparts.
Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Megan Hilty, Noah Mills & June Squibb
When Holly (Megan Hilty) returns home for Christmas expecting the same as any other year, she's blindsided to learn her family’s department store is on the brink of foreclosure. To keep the business going, Holly fills in as Santa’s Helper and meets the surprisingly young and handsome Nick (Noah Mills), who has been hired to play Santa at the store this year. Their undeniable chemistry and charisma draw in big crowds, until suddenly, Nick disappears. As Christmas day inches closer, Holly scrambles to find Nick with only one clue -- his misplaced black boot.
A Christmas in Tennessee
Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Rachel Boston, Andrew Walker, Patricia Richardson, Caroline Rhea
Allison Bennet (Rachel Boston), along with her daughter Olivia and mother Martha (Patricia Richardson), run a bakery in the small mountain town of White Pines, Tennessee. When Matthew (Andrew Walker), a charming real estate developer, tries to buy the town for a corporate ski resort, Allison and the townspeople must work together to prevent that from happening. And just when the Bennet ladies seem out of luck, an unexpected visitor --with a well-known sweet tooth for cookies and milk -- comes to the bakery and may in fact be the key to solving everything.
Christmas Around the Corner
Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Alexandra Breckenridge, Jamie Spilchuk & Jane Alexander
Claire (Alexandra Breckenridge), a savvy venture capitalist from New York City, escapes to a quaint town in Vermont for the holidays and becomes a guest of the Fortenbury Bookstore. Upon arrival, Claire finds Christmas celebrations have been canceled by the town after a flood and the bookstore is in a dire state of disrepair. She immediately takes on the challenge to revitalize the store, but clashes with the owner, Andrew (Jamie Spilchuk), who initially rejects all her proposed improvements. Eventually, sparks fly as the two begin a budding romance, and Claire’s infectious optimism inspires Andrew to join her in reviving the yuletide spirit. But everything comes to a screeching halt when Claire discovers that Andrew is planning to sell the bookstore in the new year. Will the spirit of Christmas be enough to change Andrew’s mind and encourage him to follow his heart?
Christmas Pen Pals
Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Sarah Drew, Niall Matter & Michael Gross
Following an unexpected breakup weeks before Christmas, Hannah (Sarah Drew), tech wiz and creator of the dating app Perfect One, heads home for the holidays, challenged to save her failing business by re-conceiving a new romantic dating model. Upon her return, she runs into her high school boyfriend, Sam (Niall Matter) who she has carefully avoided for years and reluctantly makes a deal with her dad, Ted (Michael Gross) to sign up for the town’s Christmas Cupid, an anonymous holiday pen pal service. As the season progresses, Hannah is smitten by each beautifully written letter she receives and starts to believe that her Christmas pen pal could be her soul mate. It’s not until Christmas Eve that everyone must reveal their true identities to their pen pals, even if it means coming face to face with the last person they ever expected.
Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT
Starring Beverley Mitchell, Stephen Colletti, Melissa Gilbert & Danny Boaz
Back in Louisiana for Christmas, Noelle Collins (Beverley Mitchell) has big plans to resurrect the town's live nativity, a beloved tradition that her late mother used to put on. Things become complicated, however, when Noelle runs into her high school sweetheart, Nick Russell (Stephen Colletti), a rising baseball star also back home due to a recent injury. Still feeling the burn from their senior year break-up, their lives are pushed even closer together when they learn their parents share an attraction and want to be more than just friends. When things begin to fall apart with the live nativity, Nick and Noelle reluctantly team up to pull off the show and find themselves growing close, uncovering a hometown love for each other and the joy of Christmas that both never really faded away.