Hallmark Channel is planning ahead. Next month, the network will begin production on their first holiday movie of 2023.
“A Biltmore Christmas,” led by Bethany Joy Lenz and Kristoffer Polaha, will film entirely on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, a national historic landmark known for its classic holiday traditions. Dustin Rikert serves as executive producer with Andrew Gernhard producing. John Putch directs the script, written by Marcy Holland.
“Each year we look for ways to create exciting, new holiday viewing experiences for our audience,” says Samantha DiPippo, senior vice president of development and programming at Hallmark Media. “We know fans will love being transported back in time and the iconic, beautiful Biltmore Estate is the perfect setting to help fans get into the holiday spirit.”
Lenz, best known for her role on “One Tree Hill,” has starred in many movies for Hallmark through the years, including “Bottled With Love” (2019), “Five Star Christmas” (2020) and “An Unexpected Christmas” (2021).
Polaha has starred in seven “Mystery 101” films on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, as well as multiple original films for Hallmark Media, including “Dater’s Handbook” (2016), “Rocky Mountain Christmas” (2017), “Pearl in Paradise” (2018), “Double Holiday” (2019) and “A Dickens Of A Holiday” (2021). Polaha also starred in The CW’s “Life Unexpected,” which staged a “One Tree Hill” crossover episode in 2010, welcoming Lenz’s character, Haley James Scott, to town.
The official description for “A Biltmore Christmas” is below:
Lucy Collins (Lenz) is a screenwriter who lands the job of a lifetime when she’s hired to write the script for a remake of the beloved holiday movie “His Merry Bride!” First filmed in 1947 at beautiful Biltmore House, it has long been considered a Christmas classic. As Christmas approaches, Lucy travels to Biltmore Estate for research. She joins a guided tour of the grounds where she gets insights into the history of the location and the filming of “His Merry Bride!,” and once inside the house, she’s drawn to a beautiful hourglass. When Lucy accidentally knocks it over, she finds herself transported back in time to 1946 – the Golden Age of Hollywood – as cast and crew prepare to film “His Merry Bride!” at Biltmore. Lucy does her best to navigate an unfamiliar place as a woman out of time, charming some and raising suspicions of others. It’s not long before Lucy catches the eye of the film’s dashing lead Jack Huston (Polaha) and although she initially rebuffs his advances, their connection soon becomes undeniable. Lucy’s sudden appearance sets off a chain of events that put the production in jeopardy. Before she can return to the present, she must make things right or threaten to alter the future forever. Lucy has one chance to go home but must say goodbye to the man who might be her soulmate unless some Christmas magic can keep the curtain from closing on their love story.
The news comes on the heels of a huge year for Hallmark Channel and its “Countdown to Christmas” franchise. In 2022, the network ranked as the most-watched entertainment cable network during the holiday season among multiple demos. “Three Wise Men and a Baby,” which premiered in November, became the most-watched TV movie of the year.