CMT, the new home of the musical drama Nashville, has announced Sun Records, an original scripted series about the early days of rock & roll. The eight-part series debuts on the cable network Thursday, February 23rd.
Based on the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, about the historic recording sessions featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, Sun Records focuses on Sun founder and producer Sam Phillips. Played by Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls), Phillips shapes the young musicians whose pioneering blend of country, R&B and blues gave rise to a cultural phenomenon still resonating 60 years after the quartet’s one-off session on December 4th, 1956.
The series also explores the influential sound created by artists including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Ike Turner, set against a backdrop of unprecedented political change and social unrest.
Newcomer Drake Milligan stars as the young Presley, with Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. Kevin Fonteyne plays Cash, along with Christian Lees as the piano-playing Lewis and Dustin Ingram as Perkins.
Other cast members include Jonah Lees as Lewis’ cousin, Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, Trevor Donovan as Eddy Arnold and Kerry Holliday as Ike Turner.
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CMT continues to expand its scripted series roster. Nashville‘s fifth season premiere is set for January 5th, while the second season of the Billy Ray Cyrus series Still the King is due this spring. A pilot for His Wives & Daughters, featuring Jane Seymour, Gail O’Grady and Jeff Kober, begins production this January, and a TV adaptation of the football-themed film Varsity Blues is also in the works.