CMT Preps Elvis Drama ‘Million Dollar Quartet’

CMT is adapting the stage musical Million Dollar Quartet into an eight-episode scripted drama premiering later this year. The series, set in Memphis, is timed to the 60th anniversary of the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” recording sessions featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. It tells the “untold true story of nothing less than the birth of rock ‘n roll,” according to CMT.

CMT and Thinkfactory Media have begun a casting search for actors to portray young Presley, Cash, Lewis, Perkins, B.B. King, Ike Turner and others. Auditions will be held at Memphis’ Humes Preparatory Academy Middle School, Presley’s alma mater, February 13.

Million Dollar Quartet will capture the star-crossed Memphis moments which led to the most explosive pop culture movement of the 20th century, the birth of rock ‘n roll,” said Brian Philips, CMT president. “The characters are all larger-than-life, so casting is a daunting challenge, but we’re counting on the magic of Memphis to come alive again.”

Million Dollar Quartet is produced by Thinkfactory Media with Leslie Greif and Gil Grant the executive producers, and Colin Escott as producer. Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton executive produce for CMT.

“We are thrilled to be working with CMT as they enter the scripted drama arena,” said Greif, CEO and founder, Thinkfactory Media. “We pride ourselves in finding, developing and delivering products that fit the networks we work with, and Million Dollar Quartet is perfectly suited for CMT because of its deep ties to country music and Nashville.”

CMT is part of Viacom. Million Dollar Quartet joins comedy Still the King (Billy Ray Cyrus, Joey Lauren Adams) on CMT’s scripted list this year. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.