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The Journal Gazette

  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Jill Wagner stars in “Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle” tonight on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Sunday, December 10, 2017 1:00 am

Actress becoming a Hallmark veteran

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

With her third Christmas cable movie in as many years now under her belt, there's little doubt Jill Wagner enjoys such stories.

The former “Wipeout” co-host and “Teen Wolf” semi-regular also has a best-selling author's plot to work with this time, as she stars in “Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle” tonight on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Wagner plays a New York lawyer whose son (Lauren Guci) reunites her at the holidays with the person (Luke Macfarlane, “The Night Shift”) who was her summer love when they were in their teens – and if they can transfer that relationship to adulthood, it really will be her Christmas miracle.

“My grandmother really loves Hallmark's Christmas movies anyway,” the lively Wagner reports, “and then she really gets a kick out of me being in one of them. In fact, she picked the first Hallmark movie I did ('Autumn Dreams') out of the scripts that I sent her. ”

Admitting she hasn't read the novel herself, Wagner explains, “The only reason I don't read is that I always fall asleep within the first two pages. It has nothing to do with what I'm reading. I like to listen to them in my car, have them read to me. I know that's lazy, but that's what helps me get trough them.” Wagner adds that she met Kingsbury, “and she is lovely! Actually, her daughter plays my assistant in the film, and it was really nice to get to work with her.”

Wagner has found a home with the Hallmark channels, having also starred in “A Harvest Wedding” recently and “Christmas Cookies” before that. She's becoming a producer there by developing a film about her own love story, which mirrors “Maggie's Christmas Miracle”: Wagner also reconnected with a boyfriend from her youth (former pro hockey player David Lemanowicz), and married him and became his daughter's stepmother this year.

“I'm hoping that will film in the beginning of next year,” Wagner says of her autobiographical movie. “We're already in the scriptwriting process. Producing is a completely new side of things for me, and I think it's really interesting. I'm very proud of my work with Hallmark. As long as they'll have me, I'd love to continue a long-term relationship with them.”