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Jewish Couple Tippi, Neal Dobrofsky on Writing 30 Christmas Movies

For a growing group of writers, producers and stars, the escalating war among Hallmark, Lifetime and now Netflix means plenty of good (and lucrative) tidings — if you can master the formula and stomach all the yuletide cheer: “There’s a whole list of boxes you have to check off.”

It’s a scene straight out of one of those TV Christmas movies: Tippi and Neal Dobrofsky met 30 years ago standing in line for frozen yogurt — Tippi was in a loveless marriage, Neal was on a bad date — and fell instantly in love. They’ve been writing Christmas movies together ever since, more than 30 of them.

You may be familiar with their work and not even know it: Holiday in the Wild on Netflix, the one where Rob Lowe and Kristin Davis find love on the African savanna? That was the Dobrofskys. Or Write Before Christmas on Hallmark Channel, which features a reunion of One Tree Hill stars Chad Michael Murray and Torrey DeVitto? Theirs too.

The Dobrofskys hadn’t set out to become Christmas movie specialists (they actually got their start writing about serial killers), but like so many working screenwriters, the couple gravitated to what was selling and found they had a knack for screwball dialogue and clever spins on Christmas-movie conventions. Never mind that they don’t celebrate Christmas themselves.

“We’re liberal Jews writing Christmas movies,” says Tippi, acknowledging the irony that their bread and butter is calibrated to appeal to decidedly goyishe red-state values. “They probably think we burn pictures of Donald Trump in our backyard. But it’s a lot of Jews writing this stuff.”

This year, the battle for holiday eyeballs has never been more intense, with two cable entities — Hallmark and Lifetime — airing an unending stream of brain cocoa since well before Halloween

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