Actor Jesse Metcalfe, who played Trace Riley on the Hallmark shows Chesapeake Shores, is returning to TV. The actor will star in the V. C. Andrews Dawn Cutler Series, a set of movies for Lifetime that will also feature Donna Mills, Fran Drescher, and Brec Bassinger. “So excited to be a part of this […]
Lifetime has released a list of 26 new Christmas movies that will premiere during the upcoming holiday season. The films will feature Rita Moreno, Patti LaBelle, Kelsey Grammer, Jane Seymour, Mario Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart, Jana Kramer, Jodie Sweetin, Kirk Franklin, Sarah Drew, Justin Bruening, Naturi Naughton, Luke James, Brooke Elliott, Brandon Quinn, Mario Cantone, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Tim Reid, Brad James, Georgia Flood, Spencer Grammer, Ariana Ron Pedrique, and Rodrigo Massa.
Programming will begin on Saturday, November 5 with new movies airing every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Actress Sarah Drew will host a special preview program on Thursday, October 27, which will show clips and behind-the-scenes moments from the new films.
26 new Christmas movies
Premieres: Saturday, November 5 at 8/7c
Alex (Jodie Sweetin) has wonderful memories of Christmas with her best friend Beth (Mikaela Lily Davies) until Beth starts dating Alex’s ex, Jesse (David Pinard). Because she has missed the last few Christmases with family due to her demanding job as an architect, Alex is excited to spend the holidays with her mother, Caroline (Jane Wheeler), who is opening an inn in Switzerland. Much to her dismay, she learns that Jesse and Beth are also visiting for the inn’s opening. When Alex meets Liam (Tim Rozon), a single father and the manager of her mother’s inn, Liam attempts to show her all the Christmas traditions and culture of Switzerland and helps Alex open herself up to love and forgiveness this holiday season.
“Well Suited for Christmas”
Premieres: Sunday, November 6 at 8/7c
Fashion designer Rachel Rocca (Mercedes de la Zerda) lands a spot in a design competition to create a tuxedo for one of the city’s most eligible bachelors, Brett Stone (Franco Lo Presti), for a Christmas charity gala. As Rachel begins to unthread his well-spun public image, she discovers the true reason behind his Christmas charity, and the two find themselves falling in love.
“Christmas on Mistletoe Lake”
Premieres: Thursday, November 10 at 8/7c
Every Christmas, Reilly Shore (Genelle Williams) picks a random spot on the map to take an adventurous trip. This year, that destination is the quaint hamlet of Mistletoe Lake. As she arrives, Reilly discovers that the town’s lone bed & breakfast is full due to the town’s annual Christmas Harbor Festival. When twelve-year-old Emma (Hattie Kragten) invites Reilly to stay on her dad’s boat, she learns that Emma’s dad Raymond Mitchell (Corey Sevier) is selling his boat and can’t participate in the festival. Saddened, Emma enlists Reilly’s help to convince Raymond to enter the festival so they can have one last perfect Christmas on Mistletoe Lake.
“The Dog Days of Christmas”
Premieres: Thursday, November 11 at 8/7c
While visiting her family during Christmastime, Annie Blake (Georgia Flood) decides to help three stray dogs get adopted before heading back into her career working for a global non-profit. But when she runs into veterinarian Dylan Hawkes (Ezekiel Simat), her old high school debate partner, they team up to save an animal rescue. Ultimately, Annie discovers that finding love, and making a difference in the world, can happen right at home.
“Reindeer Games Homecoming”
Premieres: Saturday, November 12 at 8/7c
MacKenzie Graves (Sarah Drew, Grey’s Anatomy, Amber Brown) is a brilliant, competitive, crossword-puzzle-loving biology teacher in Vermont who recently lost her father, beloved fire chief and the heart of the town’s holiday fundraising tradition “The Reindeer Games.” Every year since his death, she competes with her dad’s former team, a group of colorful retired firefighters, to win the Games and keep his tradition alive. This holiday, however, her world is rocked when fading Hollywood star, and Mac’s high school crush, Chase Weston (Justin Bruening, Grey’s Anatomy, Sweet Magnolias), comes home for Christmas to visit his pregnant sister and nephew and is begrudgingly roped into participating in the Games. When the opportunity to compete against her former crush arises, Mac is determined to show him up and win the Kris Kringle Cup at all costs. As the competition heats up, so does the spark between Mac and Chase, and Chase soon finds himself eager to not only win the games but also to win her heart as well. Brian Sills also stars.
“Six Degrees of Santa”
Premieres: Sunday, November 13 at 8/7c
Christmas enthusiast and single mom Harper (Kathryn Davis) has created a program, Six Degrees of Santa, in which anonymous “Santas” give a gift and set of instructions to be passed along, temporarily enjoyed, and re-gifted, indefinitely. Her goal is to create a Christmas experience that’s real-life, magical, and unexpected. When Harper’s own gift lands in the hands of a leading internet entrepreneur, Jason (Steve Lund), he’s convinced that the original Santa might be his soulmate. He seeks out Harper to help him track down this mystery woman.
Premieres: Thursday, November 17 at 8/7c
Lovable pastry chef Carmen (Camila Banus) dreams of opening her own Puerto Rican-influenced bakery—like the one her family owned on the island. In the meantime, she showcases her treats at a local coffee shop. When hotel owner Victor Flores (David Fumero) discovers Carmen’s talents, he invites her to apply for a position as the pastry chef for his hotel’s holiday gala. Knowing other applicants will have culinary-school backgrounds, as opposed to her homegrown skills, Carmen reluctantly applies. When she is accepted, she’s paired with chef Jax (Mark Hapka) to curate the perfect holiday menu. But the two do not mix well. Carmen is messy and cooks from the heart; Jax is a perfectionist fixated on technique. As they race against the clock to assemble their intricate holiday menu, sparks fly, and they realize they might have more to learn from one another than they initially thought.
Premieres: Saturday, November 19 at 8/7c
When event planner Emily Strauss (Emily Kinney, The Walking Dead) is hired by mall magnate Ed Mancini (Patrick Cassidy, Castle) to stage the ultimate Christmas Gala for his most important investors, Emily finds herself being sent to boot camp – Santa Bootcamp – to find the perfect Santa and the inspiration she will need to make the evening a success. While there, Emily meets Belle (Rita Moreno, West Side Story), the boot camp’s drill sergeant with a heart of gold, who helps Emily rediscover the magic of Christmas and find romance along the way. Additional stars include Tony® award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, Justin Gaston, John Schuck, and deaf actors Deanne Bray and Zyra Singleton.
“A Show-Stopping Christmas”
Premieres: Sunday, November 20 at 8/7c
Riley Burdett (Jamie Perez) is the artistic director of the Onota Theatre in Western Massachusetts. When Regina, the Scrooge-like owner of the theater, breaks the news that she’s preparing to sell the property before the holiday performance, Riley must call upon the ghosts of Regina’s past, present, and future to change her mind. Meanwhile, a big TV star, Sam Palmer (Thomas McDonnell), has moved to the area to escape the craziness of Hollywood. Riley casts him as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol and his star power, his cleverness, and his budding love for Riley help her save the theater.
“Baking All the Way”
Premieres: Thursday, November 24 at 8/7c
Julia Wilson (Cory Lee), an accomplished pastry chef from Chicago, heads to a small-town bakery famous for its gingerbread to complete her Christmas cookbook. There she finds herself at odds with Kris Thompson (Yannick Bisson), the bakery’s charming but private owner, who is ambivalent about sharing his secret recipe.
“Steppin’ Into the Holiday”
Premieres: Friday, November 25 at 8/7c
Former Broadway star Billy Holiday (Mario Lopez) returns to his hometown for Christmas after being abruptly fired as the host-producer-judge of the hit TV series “Celebrity Dance Off.” While there, he encounters Rae (Jana Kramer), the charismatic owner of the local dance studio, where Billy’s 12-year-old nephew is her standout student. Rae is planning a dance recital to raise money so she can take her students to see a Broadway show in New York City. Billy volunteers to help Rae with the recital by reviving the town’s traditional Christmas Eve show, which was once a showcase for local talent. With Billy’s knack for producing and Rae’s knowledge of all things local, their collaboration clicks, and romantic sparks start flying.
“The 12 Days of Christmas Eve”
Premieres: Saturday, November 26 at 8/7c
The 12 Days of Christmas Eve is the story of Brian Conway (Kelsey Grammer), a successful businessman whose relationships with those around him have really suffered. While this Christmas season has been the most successful for his business, he’s divorced, his relationship with his daughter Michelle (Spencer Grammer) is strained and he doesn’t have a meaningful connection with his only granddaughter. After Brian gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve, Santa gives him twelve chances to re-do the day and repair the relationships in his life to find the true meaning of Christmas. For Brian, these twelve days are a journey of self-realization about life, love, and happiness as he attempts to right the wrongs of his life in pursuit of the Christmas spirit.
“A Christmas Spark”
Premieres: Sunday, November 27 at 8/7c
Recently widowed Molly (Jane Seymour) has lost her zest for life and has given up on ever finding love again. But when she decides to visit her daughter for Christmas, she has no idea what holiday magic is in store for her. A former drama teacher, Molly reluctantly takes on the job of directing the town’s Christmas pageant and soon finds herself falling for her leading man, Hank (Joe Lando), the town’s most eligible bachelor. As Molly and the irrepressible Hank fall in love, she rediscovers her inner free spirit and finds a new lease on life. And when the star of the pageant loses her voice moments before the show, it will be up to Molly to step into the spotlight and shine brightly for the first time in her life.
“Serving Up the Holidays”
Premieres: Thursday, December 1 at 8/7c
Scarlett (Britt Irvin) is an incredible chef and co-owner of an upscale restaurant. But every year, her too-sophisticated and unique holiday dishes never sell because they are not considered festive enough. To shake things up this year, her best friend and co-owner buys her a ticket to a holiday cooking getaway in a beautiful villa where Scarlett will re-learn festive cooking from the bottom up, maybe find love with a handsome rival chef from her past (Zach Roerig), and regain the Christmas spirit her food—and her life—truly needs.
“Cloudy with a Chance of Christmas”
Premieres: Friday, December 2 at 8/7c
Bridget Torres (Valery Ortiz) is a prominent national news weather forecaster who comes to the magical, wintry town of Leavenworth, Washington, where Christmas traditions prevail each holiday season. This year, Bridget has been asked by her network to announce a special “snow-cast” at the annual Christmas Eve festival and has brought her boss Lisa (Nicole Bilderback) along with her. Bridget’s plans to shine are foiled when a talk show host from her network arrives to join her for the broadcast. Drake Kincaid (Brandon Quinn), as it turns out, refused to hire Bridget as his co-host for their morning show a year earlier, making tensions high. The unlikely duo fall for each other, but when Bridget finally discovers why Drake didn’t hire her, their romance is put to the test.
“A New Orleans Noel”
Premieres: Saturday, December 3 at 8/7c
Grace Hill (Keshia Knight Pulliam) and Anthony Brown (Brad James) could not be more different. Despite having gone to college to study architecture together, their lives took them on completely separate paths. But when they’re both hired to work together on the home of Loretta Brown (Patti LaBelle)—a New Orleans praline icon—the two find themselves stuck working together at Christmas…and butting heads over more than just architecture. When Anthony and his family discover that Grace will be celebrating Christmas alone, they invite her to take part in their traditions and their celebrations. Soon, fiercely independent Grace begins to learn the importance of family and community, while modern Anthony learns to embrace tradition and the magic of Christmas. And when Grace is offered a new job far away from New Orleans, she’ll have to decide if she’ll leave or follow her heart.
Premieres: Sunday, December 4 at 8/7c
Gaby Diaz (Ariana Ron Pedrique) is an app developer from Austin, Texas, and the last unmarried sibling in her very close and very traditional family. Every year, the Diaz family gathers at Abuela’s house in Oaxaca, Mexico, a town renowned for its “12 Challenges of Christmas,” which playfully ignites the entire town’s Christmas spirit. When Gaby accidentally adds Alex Alvarado (Rodrigo Massa), a handsome graphic designer who’s lost touch with his own Mexican roots, to the family group chat, her well-meaning family decides to secretly invite him to join them in Oaxaca for Christmas. As they begin to play matchmaker for Gaby and Alex, can the Diaz family help Gaby and Alex recognize that each of them is actually the other’s perfect Christmas present?
Premieres: Thursday, December 8 at 8/7c
Bright-eyed beauty and perfumer Ellie Reddy (Nanzeen Contractor) is tasked by her boss to create a holiday scent that will impress, so she decides to return to her quaint and festive family home for Christmas to find inspiration. There she meets handsome yet bookish writer, Logan Osborne (Mykee Selkin), who is staying with her father at the family’s historic property, which includes her mother’s former candle-making cottage. After finding her father struggling to keep her late mother’s candle business afloat, Ellie and Logan decide to complete the orders and inadvertently bring Christmas cheer back to the town, all while falling in love.
“A Recipe for Joy”
Premieres: Friday, December 9 at 8/7c
When ambitious food correspondent, Carly Hayes (Erin Agostino), gets a shot at her own TV show, nothing goes as planned. She’s sent to Angel Heights to help Grant Quinn (Dillon Casey), a perfectionist, attention-shy chef, reopen his family’s beloved diner and film it as a holiday special pilot for her television show. Thanks to Carly, Grant will not only re-open his restaurant but most probably his heart too.
“Kirk Franklin’s The Night Before Christmas”
Premieres: Saturday, December 10 at 8/7c
Caught in a blizzard on Christmas Eve, estranged mother and daughter Journee (Naturi Naughton) and Nia (Lorea Turner) are forced to take refuge inside a church where a handful of also-trapped parishioners are reeling from the cancellation of their annual holiday concert. The spirit of the season takes hold as Journee and Nia weather the wintry storm together with the other churchgoers, including handsome youth pastor Adam (Luke James) and a heavenly music teacher (Kirk Franklin), who motivate the mother and daughter to reconcile their differences through music, faith, and love. With help from this spirited group of strangers, Journee and Nia band together to help the church salvage not only their holiday traditions but also their show-stopping Christmas day performance, despite the raging storm outside.
“Single and Ready to Jingle”
Premieres: Sunday, December 11 at 8/7c
Emma Warner (Natasha Wilson) feels like she lives Christmas year-round. As the SVP of a successful toy company in Chicago, she spends 12 months a year focusing on Christmas, leaving no time for dating…or much of anything else. By the time the actual holiday rolls around, she has had enough. She asks her assistant and friend Lucy to find a tropical singles resort – somewhere she can find a guy and not think of Christmas. But due to a booking mix-up, Emma ends up in her worst nightmare – a town devoted to everything Christmas. Will Emma be able to find her joy?
“Record Breaking Christmas”
Premieres: Thursday, December 15 at 8/7c
Leah Hoffman (Michelle Argyis), an adjudicator for The World Record Bureau, draws the short straw and is forced to travel to a small town just before Christmas to investigate its plans to break multiple holiday world records. As she falls for the town’s doctor, Devan Bancroft (Andrew Bushell), she discovers that the whole town is in cahoots, and she just may be the person who can help them reach their true Christmas goal.
“A Christmas to Treasure”
Premieres: Friday, December 16 at 8/7c
The passing of beloved Ms. Marley reunites six estranged friends for one final hometown holiday treasure hunt. As the search unfolds and fond childhood memories are relived, sparks fly between Austin Craig (Taylor Frey) and his former best friend Everett Matthews (Kyle Dean Massey). They find the hidden treasure before the city has the chance to turn the Marley house into a holiday resort but the blossoming holiday romance between Austin and Everett may turn out to be the greatest Christmastime treasure of all.
“The Holiday Dating Guide”
Premieres: Saturday, December 17 at 8/7c
Dating coach and aspiring book author Abigale Slater (Maria Menounos), is close to making her lifelong dream come true. She has completed her first book—a how-to guide for dating in today’s modern world—and is now more than ready to become a published author. However, after reading the book, her publisher Jack won’t proceed with the deal without knowing that her dating advice actually works. Before he has a chance to say no, Abigale proposes that she prove the rules work by using them herself and making a man fall for her by Christmas Eve in 12 days. Although Abigale’s never seen love as a priority for herself, she sets out to find someone who will fall quickly enough to get this book in print. Things change when Abigale meets Michael Ryan (Brent Bailey), and her single-minded mission takes an unexpected turn. While following her own advice, and learning to expect the unexpected in the process, Abigale discovers the romance of her dreams.
“Wrapped Up in Love”
Premieres: Sunday, December 18 at 8/7c
Ashley Mackenzie (Brittany Bristow) has always been the preeminent “Christmas Queen” in town. From making hand-crafted decorations for the office to hosting the town’s annual Christmas sweater competition, she loves everything about the holiday…that is, until she meets her match in Ben Williams (Olivier Renaud). Ben is the devilishly handsome new guy in town who loves Christmas just as much as she does—and unwittingly begins to steal her thunder. But as Ashley begins to feel like Ben is taking Christmas away from her, she is reminded of the true spirit of the holiday, and she joins forces with him to make this Christmas even more meaningful.
Actor Jesse Metcalfe, who played Trace Riley on the Hallmark shows Chesapeake Shores, is returning to TV. The actor will star in the V. C. Andrews Dawn Cutler Series, a set of movies for Lifetime that will also feature Donna Mills, Fran Drescher, and Brec Bassinger.
“So excited to be a part of this amazing cast, playing ‘ORMAND LONGCHAMP’ in the new @lifetime movie series by the iconic author V.C. Andrews!!!” Metcalfe wrote in an Instagram post.
The post, which was “liked” by more than 9,000 people — including Hallmark’s Randy Pope — featured an article from Deadline about the new series.
Jesse Metcalfe returning to TV
Metcalfe has made several appearances on television since he announced in 2021 that he was leaving the hit Hallmark series Chesapeake Shores.
He competed on Season 29 of Dancing With the Stars and made an appearance on the British show The Masked Dancer. He also starred in the romantic comedy Harmony From the Heart for Great American Family, a new network started by the former CEO of Hallmark, Bill Abbott.
The actor revealed in 2021 that he was leaving Chesapeake Shores shortly before production began on Season 5.
“I just felt that there wasn’t really anything else I could do with the character,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
Metcalfe made his final appearance on the show during the second episode of Season 5, which aired on August 22, 2021 His character, Trace Riley, left town after a quick goodbye to Abby O’Brien (played by Meghan Ory). When she asked him where he was going, he said he wasn’t sure.
“I think there’s something missing inside of me,” Trace said. “I tried to find it in my music. I tried to find it with us. Now I’m going to try to find it in myself.”
Working with Lifetime
Metcalfe got his start on television in 1999, when he began playing Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald on the soap opera Passions. He went on to star in Desperate Housewives and the re-boot of Dallas.
In 2015, he starred in the Hallmark Christmas movie A Country Wedding. He followed that with Christmas Next Door during Hallmark’s 2017 Countdown to Christmas. Metcalfe has also played retired Boston PD Detective Jeff Jackson in the Martha’s Vineyard Mystery series.
Earlier in the year, Lifetime’s parent company, A+E Networks, acquired the rights to author V. C. Andrews’ library of bestselling novels for screen adaptation. Over the summer, 10 million viewers tuned in to see the limited Lifetime series Flowers in the Attic: The Origin.