CMT to Remake Musical 'Million Dollar Quartet' as a Scripted Drama

Michael Malarkey-Million Dollar Quartet-2011
Tristram Kenton

CMT is expanding its slate of originals.

The network is partnering with the producer of Hatfields & McCoys to adapt the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet into an eight-episode, limited-run scripted drama that will premiere later this year.

Set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, Million Dollar Quartet tells the story of 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 and forever changed music. Produced by Thinkfactory Media and CMT, the drama will chronicle the young artists’ meteoric rise to fame in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest.

“The characters are all larger-than-life, so casting is a daunting challenge, but we’re counting on the magic of Memphis to come alive again! This is among our most ambitious projects ever, and we entrust it to a proven epic filmmaker, Leslie Greif,” CMT president Brian Philips said Wednesday in a statement.

“We are thrilled to be working with CMT as they enter the scripted drama arena,” said Greif, CEO and founder of Thinkfactory Media. “At Thinkfactory Media, we pride ourselves in finding, developing and delivering products that fit the networks we work with, and Million Dollar Quartet is perfectly suited for CMT because of its deep ties to country music and Nashville. The entire Thinkfactory Media team and I are proud to be part of their expansion into rich new territory.”

Greif, Gil Grant, Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton will serve as executive producers, with Colin Escott producing. Production is set to begin on the drama in spring in Memphis.

Million Dollar Quartet marks one of two scripted series coming to CMT this year. The network will premiere Still the King, an ensemble comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus, in summer.