Food Network's Candy Coated Christmas: Release Date, Stars, And More - What We Know So Far

"And that's a wrap," as they say in Hollywood. Food Network's first-ever scripted holiday movie has just finished production, according to a press release sent to Mashed. The movie, whose name offers a rather obvious spoiler alert as to precisely which holiday we're talking about, will premiere later this year on Discovery+ under the title, "Candy Coated Christmas." The production represents a collaboration between Food Network, Discovery+, and MarVista Entertainment (via Variety). 

"Candy Coated Christmas" was conceived of as a way of combining the synergies of "Food Network's promise of providing entertaining lifestyle content" with "MarVista's long-standing expertise in telling quality, feel-good holiday stories," according MarVista's Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs, Larry Grimaldi. In other words, this feel-good holiday flick is meant to vibe with the same demographic that can never seem to get enough of Food Network's unscripted programming, but even more so during the big holiday season that runs between Halloween and New Year's Day, according to Kathleen Finch, Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer, Discovery, Inc.

Featuring a star-studded cast and one very popular celebrity chef, "Candy Coated Christmas" is an opportunity for Food Network and Discovery+ to capture some of the holiday movie magic that has worked so well for Hallmark, Lifetime, and others (via Variety).

What is Candy Coated Christmas actually about?

So what will this feel-good holiday foodie flick offer in terms of plot? "Candy Coated Christmas" is of the fish-out-of-water genre — in this case, dropping a tightly-wound big-city type protagonist into small town American, where they'll learn important lessons that help them to reshape their priorities (via The Wrap). 

Specifically, high-powered, big-city marketing executive Molly is just about to embark with her best friend on a shiny new business venture when she learns that the capital the two were counting on ... is gone. As a solution, Molly's widowed father, with whom Molly was about to board a plane to Hawaii for their annual father-daughter vacay, suggests that Molly instead pay a visit to the quaint small town where her late mother grew up –  because that's where she'll find an old family property that may be the key to the cash that Molly's business needs. With nothing but bikinis and the like in her suitcase, Molly lands in snow-covered "Peppermint Hollow," where she meets an assortment of characters who will, inevitably, remind Molly of her roots while also inspiring her to rethink her notions of a shiny new business venture.

Read on to learn how "Candy Coated Christmas" also manages to work in the Food Network/foodie/food programming angle. Or, perhaps we should say, "REE"-d on?

Candy Coated Christmas features Ree Drummond in her first feature film role

You guessed correctly. Food Network's first foray into feel-good holiday scripted programming features the acting debut of the one and only Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Appropriately enough, Drummond's character is the owner of a sweet little bakery shop in Peppermint Hollow, according to Variety, and it's Drummond's character who becomes Molly's first friend in the quaint possible-stand-in for Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow. We have little doubt that Drummond will excel in this role, and not just because she's playing to type as a self-possessed kitchen boss, but also because the role was literally written with Drummond in mind, per Variety. Drummond is certainly no stranger to Christmas baking. In 2020, she co-hosted Food Network's "Christmas Cookie Challenge."

As Discovery's Kathleen Finch explained, the thinking in casting the Pioneer Woman for this role is that "Ree is the epitome of a female-skewing Food Network talent" (via Variety). And as the bakery owner who warmly befriends a stranger to the wintry town of Peppermint Hollow (which is home to a family with the surname of "Winter," just to drive the point home ), Drummond will be bringing not only her real-life experience as a chef and business proprietor, but her infectiously folksy appeal. 

Who else stars in Candy Coated Christmas?

Because, apparently, there is no such thing as "too much meta" in Hollywood these days, Food Network's upcoming feel-good holiday feature, "Candy Coated Christmas," stars not only Ree Drummond as Peppermint Hollow's resident baker and hospitality ambassador, but also actor Molly McCook (known for "Last Man Standing") and her father, the soap opera actor, John McCook, as Molly and her father. Other familiar faces appearing in the film include Aaron O'Connell (known for "The Haves and The Have Nots") and Jae Suh Park (known for "The Big Short"). 

"Candy Coated Christmas was so much fun to be part of; it had all the magical elements that make holiday movies so special," Ree Drummond said in a statement sent to Mashed. "Any initial nerves I felt about joining this project completely melted away when I stepped into the sweet, charming world of Peppermint Hollow!"

How to watch the premiere of Food Network's Candy Coated Christmas movie

According to Kathleen Finch, "Candy Coated Christmas" will premiere in November on Discovery+. Although a specific date has yet to be announced, what we can say for sure is that Discovery has plans to promote this holiday film across all its platforms, including, of course Food Network. "It's been a dream of ours to do this for a long time," Finch told Variety. "Not only do we have the Discovery+ platform to put the movie on, what's exciting is that we have giant cable networks and digital platforms that we can really use to promote the movie in a super-sized way."

And there's more to look forward to still. Apparently, Discovery plans to create "supplemental content" around "Candy Coated Christmas" in the form of recipes and other material that dovetails well with Food Network's brand.