Signaling another possible duet by NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt and Dolly Parton at Monday’s Upfront presentation, NBC today announced Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, a sequel to last year’s Parton-inspired holiday special.
The original cast from last year’s Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors will return for the sequel: Jennifer Nettles as Avie Lee Parton, Ricky Schroder as Robert Lee Parton, Gerald McRaney as Rev. Jake Owens and Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly. Stephen Herek, who directed the original film, which was seen by nearly 16M viewers, also is back to direct the sequel. Other members of the cast, as well as a premiere date, will be announced later, NBC said.
In the sequel, an unexpected blizzard threatens the Parton family, while at the same time Dolly’s father — and his kids — make sacrifices to raise enough money to finally buy his wife the wedding ring he could never afford to give her. Meanwhile, an important person in little Dolly’s life begins to see that her amazing voice and musical gift might just be made for something bigger than rural Tennessee.
“It’s no secret that everyone loves Dolly Parton, and the response to our first movie was overwhelming — both in terms of the size of the audience and outpouring of love for a film with family values and faith,” Greenblatt said in today’s announcement. “So it felt like a no-brainer to bring this talented cast back together and tell another compelling holiday story culled from Dolly’s own life growing up in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Her spirit and belief in God — and her music — will infuse this movie with the true spirit of Dolly Parton.”
At NBC’s upfront presentation last year, the official unveiling of the deal to adapt some of Dolly Parton’s better-known songs was one of the highlights. Greenblatt took to the piano at Radio City Music Hall to accompany Parton singing “I Will Always Love You,“ which became one of Upfront Week’s most talked-about moments. Parton explained she sometimes has dinner at Greenblatt ‘s house in Beverly Hills, which she describes as “the prettiest house you’ve ever seen,” and that, after dinner, she sings and he accompanies her on his big piano. “Of course we’re usually drinking,” Parton noted. She also made sure the media buyers knew “I Will Always Love You” is her song, not Whitney Houston’s. “She can have the credit; I just want the cash,” Parton quipped. It earned her a standing ovation, to which she responded by shouting to the crowd, “Get that money out!”
In today’s announcement, however, Parton said, “I was so overwhelmed and touched by how many people watched Coat of Many Colors and their reaction to it,” saying the title song “has always been my favorite.” She added, “I hope viewers will fall in love all over again.”
In L+7 results from Nielsen Media Research, the December 10 telecast of Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors generated a 2.45 rating in adults 18-49, and 15.9 million viewers overall, making it the most-watched film on broadcast or cable in nearly seven years. The film’s increase from Live+Same Day viewing marked the largest time-shift bump for a primetime movie on a broadcast network.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love is written by Pamela K. Long, who also exec produces along with Sam Haskell and Parton. The film is a production of Magnolia Hill Entertainment and Dixie Pixie Productions in association with Warner Bros Television.