CMT announced that Chad Michael Murray (“Agent Carter,” “Outlaws and Angels” and “Texas Rising”) will portray rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Sam Phillips in the upcoming scripted drama inspired by the musical “Million Dollar Quartet.” Jennifer Holland (“American Pie Presents: The Book of Love,” “American Horror Story”) will play Sam’s devoted wife Becky Phillips, while Margaret Anne Florence (“Inside Amy Schumer,” and “30 Rock”) is set to play his assistant-turned-girlfriend, Marion Keisker. Production begins this spring in Memphis with the series slated to premiere this November on CMT.
Phillips founded Sun Records, breaking and guiding young musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Ike Turner and more. During the tumultuous civil rights movement, Phillips advocated for racial equality and broke barriers within the music industry. He was aided with the unwavering support of his wife Becky, as well as his longtime assistant Marion, who is best known for being the first person to record Elvis Presley.
Murray and Holland join previously-announced cast members Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis) and Jonah Lees (Jimmy Swaggart). 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. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
“Million Dollar Quartet” (working title) 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.
“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.