Sleighbells are ringing at UPtv, which is promising fans its "Most Uplifting Christmas Ever" with more than 600 hours of original themed programming, including movies, a special concert performance, and a new season of a fan-favorite unscripted series. For further merriment, UPtv is sprinkling in prize giveaways and interactive digital experiences.
"Our brand is all about positive content and uplifting others, and there's no better way to do that than fully embracing the holidays," said Nicole Hall, UPtv's Vice President of Marketing. "We have great content and exciting ways to delight and surprise people all season long."
To honor the giving spirit, UPtv will award one lucky viewer with a $10,000 cash prize and give an additional $10,000 to a non-profit that the winner selects from a group of charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, The American Red Cross, World Central Kitchen and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
The holidays are like UPtv's Super Bowl. According to Nielsen, in 2021 the network's Christmas movies reached 18.4 million persons 2+, while 4 million viewers tuned in to the GilMORE the Merrier binge-a-thon. This year, the network is promising more content and digital extensions than ever.
UPtv's holiday extravaganza is attracting blue chip and top tier advertisers from the auto, finance, packaged goods, retail, and insurance categories. Beyond just advertising, new and multi-year advertisers wrap their brands around the network’s Christmas programming with storyline integrations, custom content, and exclusive premiere sponsorships.
This season, viewers can feast on 17 original holiday movies, but these aren't stodgy old holiday films. Rather, UPtv is focused on contemporary themes and diverse casts that reflect the network's multicultural audience, Hall said.
"People are going to see themselves represented in the characters and stories, which is very important," she added.
Hall explained that the movies are fresh, modern, and romantic without being too sappy or sweet. In The Snowball Effect, rival meteorologists are thrown together while they track a massive holiday storm in the town of -- wait for it -- Mistletoe, while A Tiny Home Christmas features exes and former TV co-hosts who are forced to work together to build micro-homes for people in need. Following the success earlier this year of the hit premiere movie Love in Wolf Creek, UPtv is delivering a sequel titled Christmas in Wolf Creek.
"The movies are all uplifting and romantic," Hall said. "Our viewers are going to be engaged with these characters and storylines throughout the season."
No one has to watch alone. On Saturday evenings, the network will host Merry Movie Christmas Watch Parties, online virtual watch parties decked out with polls, trivia games, contests and behind-the-scenes dish.
And there's more original fare. UPtv's hit unscripted series Small Town Christmas is back for a second season with host Megan Alexander traveling the country to experience small-town holiday traditions. In Ellijay, GA, Alexander visits Burt's Pumpkin Farm to experience changing leaves, hot cider, and hay rides; she stops in Pigeon Forge, TN, to witness Christmas in Dollywood; she journeys to North Pole, AK, to tour the famed Santa Claus House and take in the world's tallest Santa Claus statue; and she goes to Frostburg, MD, where local college students participate in the so-called Elf Olympics to raise money for charity.
Small Town Christmas is a fan-favorite because "you get to see how people celebrate, and we are continuing that uplifting spirit," Hall noted. "Some towns go all in on the holidays, and some do it 365 days a year."
Of course, no holiday celebration is complete without music. As part of a partnership with Gaither Music Group, which represents country and gospel stars, UPtv is airing a special holiday performance by country star Josh Turner.
The Josh Turner: King Size Manger Christmas Special will feature the artist's first-ever holiday album and many of his popular hits. Giving fans a glimpse into his holiday traditions, Turner will sit down for an interview hosted by famed country music TV hosts Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase.
Along with its new programming, UPtv welcomed back a holiday staple: all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls.For the last seven years, the beloved series has taken over UPtv for Thanksgiving week. This year's GilMORE the Merrier marathon featured all 153 episodes and four movies and was hosted by Gilmore alum Michael Winters, who played the town know-it-all Taylor Doose. In between episodes, Winters shared trivia and flashbacks and gave away prizes, including vintage merchandise and replicas of Gilmore classics, including Lorelai Gilmore's crocheted scarves and mugs from Luke's Diner.
With so much holiday content, it may be difficult for viewers to keep track of it all, so UPtv recently launched a new version of its app. It now tracks movies and series and allows users to watch previews and bonus content. They can also set reminders to watch and access the movie watch parties.
UPtv's "Most Uplifting Christmas Ever" includes online exclusives. Viewers can spread holiday joy on its UPliftsomeone.com website. UPtv is encouraging users to submit videos in which they give shout-outs to people who have been kind and generous. Hall said that might be their child's favorite teacher, a kind neighbor, or even a delivery driver. UPtv will post some of the videos on social media and possibly even on the linear network.
As viewers countdown to Christmas, UPtv will share a digital advent calendar on its website. For 25 days in December, the calendar will reveal daily surprises, including original content shorts, charity donations, and prizes. "They're quick snippets of content to make you smile or laugh," Hall said. "We hope people will be curious and come every day to check it out."
From the movies to Small Town Christmas to digital features, Hall said this holiday season will be memorable. "With 600 hours of content, this is our biggest Christmas ever," she concluded. "We have more ways to uplift and give back than ever before."
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