ION Television said it is adding five new original movies to its 2013 holiday lineup. The new slate -- Defending Santa, My Santa, Holiday Road Trip, Christmas Belle and All I Want for Christmas -- begins airing Thanksgiving week and will run alongside 13 other returning titles throughout the holiday season.
ION said its 2012 holiday season saw its movies average more than 1 million total viewers. Collectively, those movies reached 27.2 million total viewers, up 15% from 2011, and 10.4 million adults 25-54, up 13% over the previous year, ION said, citing Nielsen data. A Christmas Kiss, ION’s highest rated movie in 2012, delivered 526,000 adults ages 25-54, the programmer said.
Defending Santa, premiering on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, stars Dean Cain asa ski-resort sheriff who inadvertently arrests a sleeping Santa in the snowy woods on suspicion of a crime he did not commit. With his sleigh ride now in doubt, Santa is put on trial. But, during the proceedings, Sheriff Hanson, also a dad and widower, begins to fall for Santa’s court-appointed defense attorney, Sarah.
My Santa, on Friday, Nov. 29, includes Samaire Armstrong, Matthew Lawrence and Julie Brown. A young, single mother, Jen, begins to lose her faith in the magic of Christmas. However, when she takes her son Eric to see the local mall Santa, Jen immediately feels an attraction and connection with Chris, the young, attractive man filling the suit. As they begin spending time together, she begins to rediscover her belief in Christmas. Little does Jen know that Chris is the son and heir to the “real” Santa, and his mission is to find himself a Mrs. Claus. As the two fall for one another, Chris faces his inevitable return to the North Pole.
Holiday Road Trip, on Sunday, Dec. 1, includes Ashley Scott, Patrick Muldoon, Kip Pardue, George Hamilton and Shelley Long. Maya, a recently heartbroken pet supply employee, couldn’t have any less in common with her co-worker, Pat, who happens to be the company founder’s son. But, tasked with traveling across the country on a Christmastime social media tour for the company’s leading canine and most-prized possession, Scoots, fate finds a funny way to intervene. In their race against the clock, the two begin to fall for one another. Unbeknownst to Maya, though, her remorseful ex-boyfriend is in close pursuit, hoping he can win her back.
Christmas Belle, on Sunday, Dec. 8, includes Haylie Duff, Nicholas Gonzalez, C. Thomas Howell and Sheree J. Wilson. With her California hometown in the rearview mirror, Belle heads north on business to catalog the sale of a large mansion. While the job is a dream, the client, Hunter Lowell, is not. But, as the two spend more time together, his icy demeanor begins to melt. Although their relationship is budding, Belle’s long-time suitor, Tony, arrives, sending mixed signals to Hunter while adding chaos to the holiday season.
All I Want For Christmas, on Sunday, Dec. 15, includes Melissa Sagemiller, Brad Rowe and Tom Arnold. After being told by her boss that she must listen more attentively to others and put the group first, Elizabeth, a skilled executive, meets one of Santa’s helpers, who blesses her with an extraordinary gift. Through the magic of a Christmas pin, Elizabeth can listen to every unspoken thought of anyone she encounters. With her new-found power, she attempts to be a better person, turning an office rivalry into romance while learning the true meaning of Christmas.