BILLY GARDELL TO STAR IN CMT’S “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” AS ELVIS PRESLEY’S MANAGER COLONEL TOM PARKER
Keir O’Donnell Joins as Pioneering Radio DJ Dewey Phillips
NASHVILLE – March 23, 2016 – CMT’s “Million Dollar Quartet” (working title) ensemble continues to expand as the network today announced that Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly”) joins the scripted drama as Colonel Tom Parker, a visionary who was central to the success of Elvis’ career. Keir O’Donnell (“Fargo,” “American Sniper”) joins as disc jockey Dewey Phillips, a man who ran one of the most successful radio stations in Memphis and was most notably the first DJ to play Elvis.
Gardell and O’Donnell join previously announced cast members Chad Michael Murray (Sun Records founder Sam Phillips), Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis), Jonah Lees (Jimmy Swaggart), Jennifer Holland (Sam’s wife Becky Phillips) and Margaret Anne Florence (Sam’s assistant Marion Keisker). The series is timed to the historic 60th anniversary of the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” recording sessions featuring icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Production begins this spring and the series is slated to premiere this November.
“Million Dollar Quartet” is a coming-of-age story set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, and tells the untold true story of nothing less than the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Guided by Sam Phillips, young musicians like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis combined the styles of hillbilly country with the 1950s R&B sound created by artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Ike Turner, and changed the course of music forever. The series chronicles these young artists’ often jarring and sudden meteoric rise to fame in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest.
The series marks one of two scripted projects coming to CMT this year. This summer, CMT will premiere, “Still The King,” an ensemble comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus, Joey Lauren Adams (“Big Daddy,” “Mall Rats”), Madison Iseman (“Laid in America” and Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger”) Lacey Chabert (“Mean Girls” and “Party of Five”), Leslie David Baker (“The Office”), Kevin Farley (“Eight Crazy Nights” and “The Waterboy”) and more.
“Million Dollar Quartet” is produced by Thinkfactory Media with Leslie Greif (“Hatfields & McCoys”) as executive producer, Gil Grant (“24” and “NCIS: Los Angeles”) as executive producer and showrunner, Barry Berg as co-executive producer and Herb Nanas and Colin Escott as producers. Oscar nominee Roland Joffé will direct, with Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton as executive producers for CMT. The series is based on the book written by Floyd Mutrux and Escott, with original concept and direction by Mutrux. Casting done by Fern Champion and Sharon Lieblein.
About Thinkfactory Media
Thinkfactory Media is a full-service production company that creates high-quality entertainment content. Renowned for award-winning productions, the company was the driving force behind the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated hit mini-series Hatfields & McCoys (History), starring Kevin Costner. Other recent credits include: The 10-hour television event Texas Rising (History), Marriage Boot Camp (We tv), Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars (We tv), Married By Mom and Dad (TLC), Dead of Winter: The Donner Party (The Weather Channel), Vet School (Nat Geo WILD) Preachers’ Daughters (Lifetime), R&B Divas: Atlanta (TV One), R&B Divas: Los Angeles (TV One), Queens of Drama (Pop), Jump! (Lifetime), Strange Love (TLC), Big Giant Swords (Discovery), Gene Simmons: Family Jewels (A&E), Tony Danza: Teach (A&E), among many others. Find out more about Thinkfactory Media and its projects at www.ThinkfactoryMedia.com and follow them on Twitter at @TFactoryMedia.
CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT, CMT.com and CMT Radio offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and are the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Music, CMT App, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.