Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, the TV-movie chronicling Parton’s childhood in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, reeled in 13 million viewers when it premiered December 10th. The huge haul by the NBC production makes it the most-watched film on the major broadcast networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX — in nearly four years.
Coat of Many Colors, starring Jennifer Nettles as Parton’s mother, drew more overall viewers than the live production of The Wiz on December 3rd, also on NBC, but was about five million viewers short of The Sound of Music Live!, which starred Carrie Underwood in 2014.
“I’ve had so many people tell me through the years that this song itself has had a healing effect on them, whether it’s about their race, their nationality, whether they were overweight or whether they were cripple, people just identify with it,” Parton said of “Coat of Many Colors” earlier this year. “When people make you feel less about yourself, it’s a hard thing to deal with.”
Coat of Many Colors is the first in a planned series of shows based on Parton’s songs. At the beginning of 2015, she and NBC announced a partnership to develop two-hour TV-movies inspired by her deep catalog, personal writings and colorful life.