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Netflix is taking a page from NBC’s playbook.
After two TV movies based on Dolly Parton songs on the broadcast network, the streaming giant has picked up an eight-episode scripted anthology with the same premise.
The untitled Parton project will see each episode based on a song by the country music icon. Parton will serve as singer-songwriter and executive producer and will also appear in the series. Like NBC’s Coat of Many Colors and its sequel, Coat of Many Colors: Circle of Love, the Netflix anthology is also being produced by Warner Bros. Television. Additional exec producers were not immediately available. Sam Haskell, who oversaw both NBC telepics, is said to be involved as well.
“As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music,” Parton said Monday in a statement. “I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support.”
NBC announced in January 2015 that Parton would be the center of a movie series. The foray, overseen by entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt (whose roots are in Broadway), was to feature a series of TV movies based on Parton’s songs, stories and life.
Coat of Many Colors — based on Parton’s song of the same name — was the first to come from the venture and launched in December 2015 to an impressive 13 million total viewers and a 1.8 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, marking the biggest viewership for any TV movie on the broadcast networks since 2012. The sequel debuted a year later and collected 11.5 million total viewers and a 1.7 in the demo. Alyvia Alyn Lind starred as the young Parton in both. In August 2015, exec producer Haskell announced that Parton’s hit “Jolene” would be the third TV movie in the NBC series, with John Sacret Young (The West Wing) on board to pen the script. The “Jolene” installment did not move forward.
Parton and Greenblatt are longtime friends (and famously performed together during NBC’s 2015 upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers, after which the singer said, “We’re looking forward to many projects”). Greenblatt produced the Broadway musical based on her film 9 to 5, for which Parton wrote the music and lyrics. NBC declined comment on the Netflix pact. It’s unclear if NBC did not renew its pact with Parton or if Netflix outbid the network.
The multihyphenate started her career at age 13 on the radio before being a featured singer on a syndicated TV program. Parton crossed over with 1977’s “Here You Come Again,” a hit on both the country and pop music charts. Her notable songs include “9 to 5,” from the movie of the same name; “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Kenny Rogers; and “I Will Always Love You,” among others. During her career, Parton has had 41 albums that have reached the top 10 on the country charts as well as 25 certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum efforts. She is a two-time Oscar nominee for her original music, including “9 to 5” and “Travelin’ Thru,” from Transamerica.
Parton is repped by WME.
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