Disney starlet Kelli Berglund has joined the cast of NBC’s next Dolly Parton event, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” Variety has learned exclusively.
The sequel to last year’s holiday ratings smash “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” heads into production this July and is slated to air last this year.
Berglund — who starred in Disney XD’s “Lab Rats” for four seasons and currently stars in the network’s spinoff series “Lab Rats Elite Force” — joins the original cast Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, Gerald McRaney and Alyvia Alyn Lind, who are all reprising their roles from “Coat of Many Colors.”
Berglund will play Willadeene Parton, the oldest child of the family. Described as wise beyond her years, she has left school to help her Mama raise the ever-increasing brood of Parton children. She’s devoted her life to her mother and siblings, but she’s still a daddy’s girl at heart. Willadeene is very maternal, nurturing, and is her Mama’s and Dolly’s “Angel on Earth.”
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” is the next chapter in the life of young Dolly Parton. The TV film will feature Christmas joy and peril, as an unexpected blizzard threatens the Parton family, while Dolly’s father makes sacrifices to raise enough money to finally buy his wife the wedding ring he could never afford to give her. As for Dolly, an important person in her life begins to see that her amazing voice and musical gift might just be made for something bigger than rural Tennessee.
Stephen Herek, who directed the original film, will direct the sequel, which is written by Pamela K. Long who will exec produce with Sam Haskell and Parton. The film is produced by Magnolia Hill Entertainment and Dixie Pixie Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Last year, the first Dolly Parton NBC flick, “Coat of Many Colors,” brought in nearly 16 million viewers, becoming the most-watched film on broadcast or cable in nearly seven years.
Aside from the “Lab Rats” franchise, Berglund also starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie “How to Build A Better Boy.” Her credits also include Disney’s “Kickin’ It,” “Mighty Med,” and the recently-released Marvista Entertainment film “Raising the Bar.”
Berglund is repped by UTA, Industry Entertainment and attorneys Eric Brooks and Greg Slewett.