Breaking Down Hallmark's Roster of Christmas Movie Leading Men

Michael Rady, Luke Macfarlane, Victor Webster and more have become Hallmark Channel's go-to leading men for their beloved Countdown to Christmas programming

By Tierney Bricker Dec 15, 2020 7:56 PMTags
Watch: Candace Cameron Bure Tells Why People Love Christmas Movies

Prepare for flannel overload. 

While Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas programming, which is currently at the tail-end of its 2020 run, is really all about its stacked roster of leading ladies—led by Candace Cameron BureDanica McKellar and Lacey Chabert—they just wouldn't be the same without its line-up of dashing leading men. 

Each season, eager fans are excited to see which leads are paired together and how much chemistry they will (or won't) have. The highest honor, of course, is co-starring with one of the top actresses, like Bure or Chabert.

Still, some male leads have become some of the channel's most beloved and dependable stars, sweeping a Christmas-loving woman off her feet each holiday season or falling in love with a single mom and her precocious child. And if they do it while wearing a fair isle sweater and drinking a hot cocoa with a candy cane sticking out of it? Completely irresistible. 

We Ranked All of Hallmark Channel's 2020 Christmas Movies

Previously, we broke down Hallmark's line-up of leading ladies, and now, we're delivering our scouting report on Hallmark's C-to-C male leads, clad in plaid, cool with just holding hands and ready to fall in love with the right woman.

(Note: While it was hard, we left off any men who have starred in fewer than two more movies.)

Mark Deklin

Movies: Switched For Christmas, Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, Meet Me at Christmas
Signature: A (scruffy) gruff guy who has lost the true meaning of Christmas...until he falls in love.

Landing the slot opposite Candace Cameron Bure in your first Hallmark Christmas movie is like applying for a job as an assistant and ending up as the manager, ya know? And that's just what Deklin did in 2017. Respect must be paid. 

Andrew Walker

Movies: A Bride For Christmas, Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through the Snow, A Dream of Christmas, Merry & Bright, Christmas on My Mind, Christmas Tree Lane
Signature: A slightly sarcastic (and scruffy) and slick perpetually single guy with no time for Christmas or love...until he falls in love. 

While Andrew briefly became a turncoat—starring in several Lifetime Christmas movies a few years ago—he's one of Hallmark's most popular leading men.

Brennan Elliott

Movies: A Christmas Melody, Love You Like Christmas, Christmas Encore, Christmas at Grand Valley, Christmas in Vienna
Signature: Honestly, he doesn't really have one...but he will fall in love.

Chances are if there is a musical element in a movie, Elliott and all of his effortless charm will be starring in it. (Never forget Mariah Carey's A Christmas Melody!)

Brendan Penny

Movies: Magical Christmas Ornaments, Pride Prejudice and Mistletoe, A Little Christmas Charm
Signature: A lovable smart-ass who starts to drop the banter and bon mots for candy canes and caroling...when he falls in love.

We don't know what it is, but the Chesapeake Shores star just adds a fun and relaxed energy to all of his performances, which makes his emotional moments all the more compelling. 

Wes Brown

Movies: Love's Christmas Journey, Christmas Cookies, Christmas at Graceland, Check Inn to Christmas, A Nashville Christmas Carol
Signature: A small-town hunk with a slight Southern accent who just wants to keep the old-school charm of his beloved hometown alive...until he falls in love.

You can always count on Wes to deliver a solid and swoon-worthy performance in a Hallmark movie, which he proved in 2018's Christmas at Graceland when he was paired with first-timer Kellie Pickler

Marc Blucas

Movies: Operation Christmas, Miss Christmas, Holiday for Heroes, Good Morning Christmas!
Signature: A sweet and sensitive (and clean-shaven) soldier who is determined to make the most of the holidays...until (and as) he falls in love. 

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer vet tends to be more of a fixture on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, often starring in some of the channel's best (and underrated) C-to-C movies. And his 2020 outing Good Morning Christmas! was maybe his best yet, teaming up with Alison Sweeney to play morning show co-hosts who can't stand each other...until they fall in love.

Luke Macfarlane

Movies: Christmas LandThe Mistletoe Promise, Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle, A Shoe Addict's Christmas, Sense, Sensibility & Snowmen, Chateau Christmas
Signature: A down-to-earth and easy-going blue-collar guy (with the perfect amount of subtle scruff) just making his way through the holiday season...until he falls in love. 

A seasoned vet, Luke is one of C-to-C's most popular stars and it's easy to see why, given his relaxed charm and L.L. Bean catalog-worthy good looks. The Brothers & Sisters star is also one of Hallmark's only openly gay leading men and we're hoping he'll eventually star in an LGBTQ+ rom-com for the network.

Michael Rady

Movies: Christmas in Homestead, A Joyous Christmas, Christmas at Pemberley Manor, Two Turtle Doves, A New Year's Resolution, The Christmas Bow
Signature: A (usually slightly scruffy) slightly uptight and work-hard-play-never rule-follower...until he falls in love or a (usually clean-shaven) single father just trying to give his motherless child the best Christmas...until he falls in love. 

We consider Michael the secret weapon among Hallmark's men. He's not the first one that comes to mind but he's arguably one of the network's most talented leads. C'mon, he starred in not one but two Christmas movies in 2019. He has an easy rapport with any female lead he's paired with, though it must be publicly stated Michael and Nikki DeLoach are one of the channel's top couples. (Tom and Meg are shaking!)

Mark Taylor

Movies: Memories of Christmas, A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado
Signature: A strong man who is both sensitive and intense...while falling in love.

More of a newcomer to the Hallmark universe, dare we say Taylor may be one of its hottest members and exudes the most sex appeal one can possibly exude when wearing a sweater, coat and scarf.

Ryan Paevey

Movies: Hope at Christmas, Christmas at the Plaza, A Timeless Christmas
Signature: A five o-clock shadow-sporting Christmas enthusiast who is just waiting for the right one...until he falls in love. 

After finishing his run on General Hospital in 2018, Ryan pivoted to Hallmark, a smart move as he's appeared in a number of the channel's seasonal-themed events. 

Paul Campbell

Movies: A Godwink Christmas, Once Upon a Holiday, Holiday Hearts, Christmas By Starlight
Signature: A sincere and sometimes sarcastic average Joe who can't help but find his Christmas spirit...when he falls in love. 

He's not a regular Hallmark leading man, he's a self-aware Hallmark leading man, usually delivering every schmaltzy line with a wink at the audience. And he's awarded a gold star for writing 2020's Christmas By Starlight.

Trevor Donovan

Movies: Marry Me at Christmas, Nostalgic Christmas, USS Christmas
Signature: A picture-perfect hometown hero who is too busy for Christmas or romance...until he falls in love.

If Hallmark were to assemble a leading man in a lab, it would come out looking exactly like the 90210 vet. This is a fact. 

Steve Lund

Movies: Best Christmas Party Ever, Christmas Incorporated, The Christmas Cottage, Unlocking Christmas
Signature: Slightly arrogant but very charming professional slowly starts to open up as he experiences the magic of the season...while falling in love. 

Fact: Christmas Incorporated is one of the network's most underrated original movies ever. OK, that's not a fact, it's an opinion. But it's one we stand by, as well as our belief that Lund is quietly one of Hallmark's best leading men. After a three-year hiatus, we were very excited to see him back in the 2020 line-up. 

Sam Page

Movies: Annie Claus Is Coming to Town, The Perfect Christmas Present, Royal New Year's Eve, Christmas in Rome, A Godwink Christmas: Second Chance, First Love
Signature: A clean-shaven exec determined to land that big account...until he falls in love. 

Hallmark clearly has confidence in Sam's potential as he landed one of the most plum roles in the 2019 holiday season, starring opposite Lacey Chabert in Christmas in Rome, filmed on location. He's also the kind of handsome that belongs in the pages of a J.Crew catalog. 

Tyler Hynes

Movies: It's Christmas, Eve, The Mistletoe Secret, The 12 Dates of Christmas
Signature: Sarcastic, sweet and scruffy, he's too focused on his work to get swept up in the magic of Christmas...until he falls in love.

In his three Christmas outings Hynes has shown his range, charmingly playing a widower in his first outing, a disheartened writer in his second and a snarky app developer in his latest. With a relaxed demeanor and disarming onscreen presence, he's likely to be a feature for C-to-Cs for years to come.

Victor Webster

Movies: Magic Stocking, Home For Christmas Day, Homegrown Christmas, Five Star Christmas
Signature: A strong and steady tall drink of water...who falls in love.

Doesn't Webster's presence just make you feel calmer? If warm and fuzzy were a person, it'd be him, which makes him a reliable lead.

Niall Matter

Movies: Finding Father Christmas, Christmas at Dollywood, Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater
Signature: A slightly jaded professional who can handle everything on his own...until he falls in love. 

One of the more underrated leads on the network when it comes to the Christmas slate, he's still a mainstay thanks to his recurring gig in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries franchise opposite Bure.

Cameron Mathison

Movies: The Christmas Ornament, A Christmas to Remember, The Christmas Club
Signature: A busy-but-still-charming (and five o-clock shadow-sporting) professional who isn't expecting to slow down for the holidays...until he falls in love. 

Solid, dependable and ridiculously charming, Cameron is one of Hallmark's most beloved stars. And the All My Children vet is just as smitten, crediting his most recent Christmas film for making him realize he needed to go to the doctor about pain he was experiencing, ultimately resulting in a kidney cancer diagnosis. In September 2019, Cameron revealed he is cancer-free.

"It saved my life," the 50-year-old told ET of his experience filming The Christmas Club that year. "See? These Hallmark Christmas movies are more powerful than you know."

Jesse Metcalfe

Movies: Christmas Next Door, Christmas Under the Stars
Signature: A busy (and clean-shaven) workaholic who will stop at nothing to get that promotion…until he falls in love.

While he's starred in just two Christmas movies for the network, he's one of their favorite guys, thanks to his starring role on their hit TV show Chesapeake Shores.

Paul Greene

Movies: A Christmas Detour, A Wish for Christmas, Christmas in Angel Falls, Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy
Signature: A charming local in a small town obsessed with Christmas, where a busy professional woman gets stuck and he ends up showing her her the magic of the season, reluctantly...until he falls in love. 

Considering he's one of the stars of the network's crown jewel TV show, When Calls the Heart, it's safe to say Paul is beloved by Hallmark execs and devoted fans. A seasoned pro, Paul still manages to come off light-hearted and sincere no matter the crazy Christmas circumstances his yearly outing throws at him. 

Chad Michael Murray

Movies: Road to Christmas, Write Before Christmas, Love in Winterland
Signature: A (slightly scruffy) sarcastic young creative with an interesting family dynamic who is just trying to get through the holidays...until he falls in love. 

A newer addition to the roster, the One Tree Hill vet is quickly becoming one of Hallmark's best romantic leads, adding a much-needed sense of humor and whimsy to each movie CMM's in. You can tell he's in on the joke, almost delivering cheesy lines with a wink at times, but still providing exactly what you need.

Kris Polaha

Movies: Hearts of Christmas, Rocky Mountain Christmas, A Small Town Christmas, Double Holiday
Signature: Your quintessential male antagonist who has both small town values and a deep love for the holidays...while falling in love.  

Does any Hallmark leading man love being a Hallmark leading man more than Kris? In 2018, he wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter all about how much he loves being in their movies, and he's now an annual fixture after first begrudgingly starring in one almost five years ago.

"As an actor, I am leaning into Hallmark because it's fun to sit with my seven-year-old and show him what I do for a living. These are family-friendly movies," he wrote. "I'm leaning in because my 91-year-old Nana finally thinks I've made it in Hollywood because I'm on Hallmark."

Swoooon. Alas, he sat out the 2020 season. Bah, humbug!

(Originally published Dec. 10, 2019, at 1 p.m. PST)