GRAMMY� AWARD-NOMINATED BILLY RAY CYRUS STARS IN "CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN," A HALLMARK CHANNEL ORIGINAL MOVIE WHICH HAS BEGUN PRODUCTION FOR AIR IN 2009 ON HALLMARK CHANNEL
Based on the Book Co-Written by Grammy� Award Winner Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport
Grammy Award-nominated artist and actor Billy Ray Cyrus ("Hannah Montana") is set to star in "Christmas in Canaan," a Hallmark Channel Original Movie about the unlikely friendship that develops between two boys � one white and one black -- in 1960s Texas, and how they bond over concern for a wounded puppy. It's amidst the magic of Christmas that the boys learn about family, hope and love despite living in the shadow of racism.
The holiday movie, which is based upon the book Christmas in Canaan by Grammy Award winner Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport, has begun production in Vancouver, Canada and will premiere on Hallmark Channel in December of 2009.
DJ (Zak Ludwig, "Supernatural") and Rodney (Jaishon Fisher, "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story") don't like each other at the start. Rodney thinks DJ is an ignorant white farm boy, and DJ thinks Rodney acts too smart for his own good. After a school-yard tussle between the two, DJ's father (Cyrus) and Rodney's grandmother come up with a clever solution that brings the boys closer than either of them would like: They have to spend time together at each other's house. During that time, they discover an injured puppy that they nurse back to health and that eventually brings the boys together.
Living in Canaan, Texas, in the 1960s does not make it easy for the two boys to forge a friendship, but with the help of an unforgettable Christmas, DJ and Rodney find a forgiving landscape where hope and love make all the difference.
"Christmas in Canaan" is being produced by Bauman Entertainment, The Hatchery and Jaffe Braunstein Productions. Emmy Award winner Margaret Loesch ("Muppet Babies"), Emmy Award winner Dan Angel ("Door To Door"), Ted Bauman ("Pictures of Hollis Woods"), Howard Braunstein ("The Brooke Ellison Story") and Michael Jaffe ("The Brooke Ellison Story") are the executive producers; Randy Cheveldave ("Mail Order Bride") is the producer. Neill Fearnley ("Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of �Mork & Mindy'") is directing from a script written by Donald Davenport and a story by Kenny Rogers.
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming to a national audience of 88 million subscribers. The top tier program service is distributed through more than 5,450 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel consistently ranks among the highest-rated cable networks and is the nation's leading network in providing quality family programming. Hallmark Channel's sibling network is Hallmark Movie Channel which focuses on the greatest family movies of all time.
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