CBS is offering made-for-TV holiday movies, with A Christmas Proposal premiering Sunday, Dec. 12, and Christmas Takes Flight on Dec. 19. It has been almost a decade since CBS has been in the holiday movie business.
Adam Rodriguez, star and co-executive producer of A Christmas Proposal, and Mark Amato, who wrote the screenplay, were on the Series Business podcast to talk about the movie. Jessica Camacho plays Maria, a down-on-her-luck chef who drives for an Uber-like ride-sharing service to make ends meet. She picks up Rodriguez’s Julian for a long ride, and they get to know each other.
It being a holiday movie, a relationship takes root.
Amato mentioned driving for Uber, and taking a rider from Los Angeles to San Diego one day. “I thought to myself, this is a perfect movie idea,” he said.
Rodriguez has been on CSI: Miami and Criminal Minds. He was on board with A Christmas Proposal as soon as he read the script, calling it “original and current.”
“You haven’t seen too many movies--none that I can think of, quite honestly--that kick off in this way,” Rodriguez said. “Where a ride-share driver all the sudden ends up going on a much longer ride than anyone expected--let alone falling in love.”
It is Rodriguez’s first Christmas movie, while Amato has written a bunch of them for Hallmark. “Every time there’s no more Christmas movies to be told, I come up with another one,” he said.
A Christmas Proposal features a LatinX cast. Maria drives Julian to his parents’ house, and ends up posing as his girlfriend to help the bachelor convince his parents he’s in a mature relationship, and better suited to take over the family business than his sketchy brother.
Kelly Kahl, CBS Entertainment president, described the return of made-for-TV movies to CBS as “one of those creative-meets-business-opportunity models that comes along every once in a while.” CBS found the right producer, and “it turned out to be a good financial deal for us,” he told B+C earlier this year.
Motion Picture Corporation of America is producing both movies.
Amato said CBS made a pretty good partner. “They were so encouraging. They were very very hands on,” he said. “They had lots of notes, but each progression, we got the script better, better, better, better.”
He called it “a love fest from start to finish.”
Martin Wood directed the film, which shot in Vancouver.
Next week, Christmas Takes Flight features a pilot, Jenny, and a number-crunching CEO, Matt. Matt purchases Jenny’s family-owned airline and cancels the airline’s holiday charity event. Jenny rallies the community and slowly but surely develops feelings for the CEO, and vice versa. Katie Lowes and Evan Williams star.
Kahl suggested holiday movies may be back on CBS for the foreseeable future. “We loved the creative and we said, let’s get back in the movie business,” he said.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.