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Jessica Chastain is heading to television.
The Zero Dark Thirty and Molly’s Game actress will play country music legend Tammy Wynette in a limited series called George & Tammy for Spectrum Originals and Paramount Network. The drama, which was originally developed as a Fox Searchlight feature film a few years ago, chronicles the country music power couple, Wynette and George Jones, whose complicated relationship inspired some of the most iconic music of all time.
Original feature writer Abe Sylvia (Dead to Me) created the series and exec produces alongside Andrew Lazar (American Sniper), Josh Brolin (who was previously attached to play Jones) and Chastain. David Glasser, David Hutkin and Bob Yari are executive producers from 101 Studios (Yellowstone) along with series writer Bryan Goluboff. The drama is based on the book The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George, which was written by Wynette and Jones’ daughter, Georgette Jones.
Cable platform Spectrum will have the series exclusively for nine months, after which it will stream on ViacomCBS’ soon to be rebranded CBS All Access. Paramount Network will also be the linear home for the series after the Spectrum window expires.
“I first read Abe’s feature script a few years ago and couldn’t get it out of my head — the examination of human frailty and redemption was so unexpected, given the glitz and glamour of the subject matter,” said Katherine Pope, head of Spectrum Originals. “We all thought we knew who Tammy Wynette was, but there is so much more to her that we never saw. Jessica brings her incredible depth of intelligence, empathy and strength to peel back all the layers of this country superstar.”
The role will be Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Chastain’s first series regular part. She has remained attached to the project since first boarding the Fox Searchlight feature.
Spectrum, for its part, continues to be a home for scripted originals and counts L.A.’s Finest, the Mad About You revival, Manhunt: Deadly Games and Paradise Lost among its roster of originals. George & Tammy marks the second such partnership between ViacomCBS-backed Paramount Network and Spectrum following Josh Hartnett drama Paradise Lost. The structure of the deal allows ViacomCBS to share the costs associated with the series — which figure to be high given Chastain’s involvement as well as the rights to the book and expected music production values — while also still having the valuable second-window streaming rights. That Paramount Network would also get the series for basic cable rights is also a boon as the platform continues to look for high-end originals with marketable stars to help cut through the clutter. (The cabler recently canceled 68 Whiskey, which underperformed and didn’t feature any recognizable stars, for example.)
“I’ve been a massive fan of George and Tammy’s iconic music since I was a kid, leading me to chase this incredible script by Abe for years,” said Keith Cox, President of ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth Studios. “It’s a dream come true to have Jessica at the forefront of the complex tale behind Tammy Wynette. We are thrilled to share this series about two legends with the world on ViacomCBS forthcoming streaming service and Paramount Network.”
Known as the “First Lady of Country Music,” Wynette’s most successful song is “Stand by Your Man,” which ranks as is one of the most iconic and best-selling country singles by a female artist. She had 20 No. 1 songs on the country charts that helped solidify her place as one of the most influential women in music. Her tumultuous marriage to country superstar Jones in 1969 gave life to iconic duets including, “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You.”
“I am humbled to bring this incredible story to life with the breadth it deserves and that the Charter platforms allow,” Sylvia said. “Tammy Wynette is an American icon, and I can think of no one better to illuminate the woman behind the legend than Jessica Chastain. After having the honor of penning The Eyes of Tammy Faye for Freckle Films and Searchlight, I so look forward to another collaboration with her. This has indeed been a passion project for Andrew, Josh and me — and we are so grateful to our partners Katherine Pope, Keith Cox and David Glasser for tirelessly championing our labor of love.”
A premiere date and episode count have not yet been determined.
Chastain is repped by CAA, Mosaic and Hansen Jacobson.
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