Patrick Duffy Explains the Appeal of Lifetime Christmas Movies: 'Love Always Wins at the End'

The Dallas alum stars in PEOPLE Presents: Once Upon a Main Street, premiering Sunday on Lifetime

Appearing in a Lifetime Christmas movie is nothing new for Patrick Duffy — and that's just fine with him.

The Dallas alum, 71, stars as Elder Dubois in this year's PEOPLE Presents: Once Upon a Main Street as a storefront owner trying to choose between two warring prospective buyers, played by Vanessa Lachey and Ryan McPartlin. Elder is supposed to lead his town in the annual "Battle of the Main Street" holiday decorating competition with another nearby town, but he just can't get in the spirit. So, to butter him up, the wannabe business owners agree to work together and help with the decorations.

For Duffy, who has become a holiday movie regular, the plot almost doesn't matter.

"When my agent or whomever it is that proffers the offer says, 'We have an offer from Lifetime,' I just say, 'Take it,'" Duffy tells PEOPLE. "I know what it's going to be. I don't know the plot, but I know it's going to be well-written for the audience it's trying to get to. It will be respectful to every character because they always are. The message is always positive: It's always love wins at the end."

Once Upon a Main Street
Courtesy of Lifetime

While the actor jokes that he's no longer the romantic lead in these movies, he appreciates playing the more mature character just as much.

"In the early days, I used to be on the receiving end of the love stick," he says. "Now I'm the grandpa in the love relationship. And it's a blessing to be asked to do these things."

Aside from the positive messages of the projects themselves, Duffy says the experience on set, especially with Once Upon a Main Street, is full of joy as well.

"Absolutely every person is a stranger and we're all grateful to be working," he says. "That's the bottom line. And you find out there's just a ton of people out there doing this work that we love to do."

Once Upon a Main Street
Courtesy of Lifetime

For Duffy, working with Main Street's Lachey, McPartlin, Polly Draper, who directed and starred, and producer Paula Hart (who is Melissa Joan Hart's mother) was an added bonus.

"They're all so long in the business that they're not trying to prove anything other than, 'Let's have a good time, make a fun movie that gives a great message, and then we'll all go home.' And that's what we did," he says. "It was fantastic. And now I have a whole list of new friends that I can say are my friends."

PEOPLE Presents: Once Upon a Main Street premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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