10:34am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee's' Amber Riley to Star in Christmas TV Movie (Exclusive)
Glee alum Amber Riley is getting into the Christmas spirit early.
The Dancing With the Stars winner has been tapped to star and sing in My One Christmas Wish for Up, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The TV movie musical is inspired by the true story of Jackie Turner, a straight-A college student who turns to Craigslist to post a want ad to find a family with whom she can celebrate Christmas.
Riley will star as Turner and lead a cast that also includes Matreya Fedor (Cedar Cove), Priscilla Faia (Rookie Blue), Ali Skovbye (Further Adventures in Babysitting), Ken Tremblett (The Whispers) and Jarod Joseph (The 100). Spyder Dobrofsky (Enough About Jack) wrote the screenplay. Production on the Entertainment One production directed by James Head (The Haunting Hour) is under way in Vancouver for a debut in November as part of the Up's Everything You Love About Christmas programming schedule. Ira Pincus, John Morayniss, Armand Leo, John Ritchie, Ronnie Clemmer and Michele Samit exec produce; Jonathan Schwartz and Robert Lee are on board to produce.
Here's the official telepic description: Jackie Turner is a straight-A college student who was abused, abandoned and starved as a child. Although she has resolutely turned her life around, the holidays are still very painful for her. Facing another lonely holiday break on campus, Jackie takes an ad on Craigslist for My One Christmas Wish — a family for Christmas — and even offers to pay $8 an hour. To her surprise, responses flood in. Among the numerous heartfelt invitations and letters of support, she also hears from other young people struggling with the same overwhelming emptiness that comes with spending the holidays without loved ones. Moved and inspired, Jackie decides to throw a big Christmas party — with the last-minute help of her adviser, friends and support group — to find families for all those troubled folks who emailed her, and finds one for herself as well.
Riley, meanwhile, is also working on her debut solo album.