Paramount Network is getting into the Christmas movie game this year with Dashing in December, an LGBTQ+-centric romantic comedy starring former Dancing With the Stars competitor Juan Pablo Di Pace. The network shared the first trailer for the film last week, playing up the holiday romance at the film's center. It will debut on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. ET.
Dashing in December was written and directed by Jake Helgren, whose credits include dozens of other holiday TV movies. Baby Daddy star Peter Porte and Di Pace play Wyatt and Heath, two gay men who meet when Wyatt comes home for the holidays. “This feel-good project captures the importance of inclusive storytelling, the power of love and the spirit of the holidays all rolled into one,” Meghan Hooper, EVP and Paramount’s Head of Original Movies and Limited Series, said in a statement to PEOPLE. The movie also features songs by Cody Blew, Fancy Haygood, and Styles Haury.
The cast also features Andie MacDowell, who plays Wyatt's mother. He is trying to convince his mom to sell the family ranch. His plans change when he meets Heath, who is happy with rural life. “Some of us just like being here,” Heath tells Wyatt in one scene. “Not everyone needs more.” In another scene, Wyatt tells his friend, played by Westworld's Caroline Harris, that he does not think Heath is into him. "You're not really that clueless, are you?" she asks.
Paramount's decision to feature an LGBTQ+ romance follows Hallmark Channel's decision to do the same in its made-for-TV movies this year finally. In August, the network aired Wedding Every Weekend, which became the first Hallmark movie to include a same-sex wedding. Hallmark has been criticized for years for not including LGBTQ+ characters in major roles, but network executives announced plans to change that in July. The network confirmed the 2020 Christmas movies would include LGBTQ+ stories. In September, the network announced Miracles of Christmas, which will star Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett and is about a gay couple trying to adopt their first child. The film will air on Nov. 22.
"Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever," Michelle Vicary, EVP, programming for Hallmark, said in a statement, reports Today. "Our movies are rooted in warmth and positivity, meaningful connections, family gatherings, and seasonal traditions — a winning formula we hope will bring our millions of viewers much-needed levity and holiday cheer at the end of a tough year."