PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — It's shaping up to be a holly Dolly Christmas this year!
"Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas" premieres on NBC on Thursday, Dec. 1. It's a movie-musical set in Dollywood starring Dolly Parton and tells the backstage story of making a network TV special.
Dolly said the movie's name came from a song she wrote years ago called Mountain Magic.
"I was just trying to think, 'What would be a good title for it?' And so I dragged that song out of a barrel somewhere and I thought, 'Oh, this is perfect,'" she said.
Over the summer, Dolly was spotted filming at the park with celebrities such as Willie Nelson and Jimmy Fallon.
Other stars in the movie include actress and comedian Ana Gasteyer, Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter, Miley Cyrus, country artist Jimmie Allen, Christian rock artist Zach Williams, and more.
Being a movie-musical, Dolly said different areas of the park were assigned to the featured songs.
"When I did the song with Jimmy Fallon, we did it at Red's Cafe, the '50s diner, worked out perfect. And of course, with Willie Nelson, we worked at the old Grist Mill, you know, inside that. And when I did Zach Williams, we worked at the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. So all of the ones, we tried to find a special spot on the park that would, you know, work well with the particular artist," she said.
Dolly said she worried people would be upset that parts of the park were shut down during the busy summer season so she invited them to watch.
"We did actually have a lot of the people on the park sign little releases in case they were on camera that it was OK for them to be on camera, but we had to stage it to where in all the areas that we used, they had to be dressed like in sweaters or in jackets or whatever," Dolly said. "So we had a lot of my fans that really took part in being in the shows either in the audience. When we had audience shots, they had to dress, you know, the part like it was wintertime or whatever, but it was just fun doing it."
"Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas" premieres on WBIR and other NBC stations on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 8/7c. It will also be available on NBC's streaming service, Peacock.