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Mississippi producer behind Dolly Parton Christmas special

Dolly Parton Mountain Magic Christmas
Photo courtesy of NBC

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and one Mississippi native is looking to bring holiday cheer to home audiences across the country with a Christmas special hosted by Dolly Parton.

Amory native Sam Haskell, President of Magnolia Hills Productions, has collaborated with Parton to showcase a two-hour modern-day movie musical about the making of a network TV special.

The special was filmed at the popular theme park, Dollywood, and features prominent musical guests like Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jimmie Allen, Zach Williams, and Miley Cyrus, with actors Tom Everett Scott, Angel Parker, and Ana Gasteyer costarring. Parton complimented the production as some of Haskell’s finest work.

“Dolly Parton is starring in one of the biggest projects we’ve ever done together. In fact, after she saw it completely finished, she gave me the great compliment of saying, ‘This is the best Sam Haskell and the best Dolly Parton we could have ever had. I believe this was our finest work,’ and I was so touched,” Haskell said on The Gallo Show. “We worked so hard on it. It’s her wonderful concept of music and she’s in every single scene, sings 19 songs, and we have this incredible story. Here’s a little spoiler — the male lead of the movie is Sam Haskell.”

While Dolly’s offer was flattering, Haskell decided to remain in his position as the special’s executive producer. He convinced Parton to allow him to cast an actor to take his role. The actor cast was discovered by one of Hollywood’s biggest names.

“I would not do it. I said, ‘Look, Dolly, I can’t lose 30 pounds, memorize all those lines, and produce this movie all at the same time,'” Haskell said humorously. “She finally agreed to let me cast an actor to play Sam. Sam Haskell is played by Tom Everett Scott, who has done a million series. Tom Hanks discovered him in a film called That Thing You Do 20-something years ago.”

Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas will make its debut on December 1 at 7 p.m. CT and can be watched on NBC.

Watch the full interview with Haskell below.

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