“This movie was developed for a while. We actually were going to shoot it during the COVID lockdown,” reveals Melissa Joan Hart, the executive producer of “Christmas in Tune” for Lifetime starring Reba McEntire. “We put it off because we wanted to be able to have big audiences and do it right. We didn’t rush it. In the meantime, we were able to get Reba to be interested in it and developed it more for her.” We talked to Hart as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV showrunners panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Years after their personal and professional breakup, the singing duo of Georgia (McEntire) and Joe Winter (John Schneider) agree to reunite after their daughter, Belle (Candice King), asks them to participate in a Christmas Charity concert, only to find themselves getting back in tune on stage and off. “Christmas in Tune” was produced by Hartbreak Films with Hart, McEntire and Hart’s mother Paula Hart serving as executive producers. Emily Moss Wilson directed from a script by Juliet Giglio and Keith Giglio.
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Hartbreak Films was started in 1995 with Hart’s TV show “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” “Now we have a great deal with Lifetime to be able to produce some movies for them,” the executive producer explains. “It’s been really nice for me, instead of being an actor for hire, to be able to produce my own material. To be able to have some say, some control, some voice in what happens with my character, with the production, with the production design, with who the DP is and that kind of thing. I love being on the production side of things. To be able to work with somebody like Reba was really exciting and fun. Everyone in the whole world loves Reba. She’s a one-name person. She did a fantastic job in this.”
“Christmas is supposed to be full of joy and hope,” Hart says. “This genre has taken off and exploded because during that time of year people are lonely, people are sad, people might not have the money to put the gifts around the tree that they want to, they might not have the family they want to, they might be deployed. For numerous reasons people don’t have a very merry Christmas all the time. So to be able to make these movies that bring people joy and hope and lets them escape for a little while…and get infused with love and joy.”
Hart was a Kids’ Choice Awards winner for “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Drive Me Crazy.” Her producing career has included “Rent Control,” “Melissa and Joey,” “Broadcasting Christmas,” “The Watcher in the Woods” and “Mistletoe in Montana.”
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