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Sean Astin Stars in Hallmark Channel's Original Movie SANTA SWITCH Tonight

Sean Astin Stars in Hallmark Channel's Original Movie SANTA SWITCH Tonight

Ethan Erickson ("Fashion House") stars as a struggling dad who gets a new start when a strange encounter magically replaces his mall Santa gig with the real thing in World Premiere of "Santa Switch," a Hallmark Channel Original Movie premiering tonight, December 7 at 8pm ET/PT, 7C. Starring alongside Erickson, Academy Award Nominee Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings") plays Kris Kringle's uptight assistant Eddie who is determined to keep Christmas on schedule. Anne Dudek ("Covert Affairs"), Annie Thurman ("The Hunger Games") and Griffin Cleveland ("The Seven Year Hitch") also star. "Santa Switch" is part of Hallmark Channel's annual COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS, the #1 most treasured holiday destination by television viewers.

As the Christmas season approaches, Dan Ryebeck (Erickson) is facing unemployment, and struggling to pay for the gifts he thinks will impress his two kids, Sally (Thurman) and Joe (Cleveland). Always chasing a new business idea, Dan hasn't had time for family, including his wife Linda (Dudek), who is finally fed up and filing divorce papers. Threatened by Linda's handsome and successful young boss, Trevor (Steve Valentine, "Crossing Jordan"), Dan knows he must make this Christmas the best one yet to win his family back. But after auditioning for a mall Santa job and quickly losing his cool, Dan is frustrated and broke, blaming the holidays for his troubles. Little does he know his luck is about to turn around when the real Kris Kringle (Donovan Scott, "Matchmaker Santa") pays him a visit from the North Pole. Deciding to take a vacation and leave Dan in charge, Kris sends his hard-working elf assistant Eddie (Astin) to guide Dan as the new Santa Claus, hoping he'll learn a lesson in Christmas spirit. With the sudden power to impress Linda and the kids by making every wild Christmas wish come true, Dan soon gets carried away. As the fate of the whole world's Christmas rests in his hands, can Dan focus on what his family really needs without flubbing his greatest gig yet?

"Santa Switch" is a Mediapool Production in association with Larry Levinson Productions. Larry Levinson is the executive producer. Co-executive producer is Amanda Phillips Atkins and Lincoln Lageson is the producer. David S. Cass, Sr. directed from a teleplay by Rod Spence and Brian Sawyer & Gregg Rossen. Story by Rod Spence.

Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 88 million subscribers. Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, and Frasier. The channel is also home to a range of lifestyle programming, anchored by Home & Family, a daily two-hour live show shot in a fully functional house located on the Universal Studios lot. Hallmark Channel's sibling network, Hallmark Movie Channel, available in HD and SD, focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of original films, classic theatrical releases, and presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library.

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