CMT’s ‘Sun Records’: 7 Things To Know
After snagging the rights to the hit series Nashville, CMT is widening the doors of their scripted series with the all new, Sun Records. Focused on the birth of rock ‘n’ roll and the recordings of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins at Sun Records, the eight-part series is taking music fans into the past and the golden age of music. With a name change and a premiere date set, here are 7 things to know about CMT’s new series:
7. Minds Behind
For fans of new series, it is always important to know who the producers and creators behind the show are to be able to look at their past work for a reference. For Sun Records, it is being produced by Thinkfactory Media and Leslie Greif who has worked on series including Walker, Texas Ranger; Gene Simmons Family Jewels; and Hatfields and McCoys. Meanwhile Gil Grant is acting as executive producer and showrunner having worked on series such as NCIS, Army Wives, Painkiller Jane, and NCIS: Los Angeles. Sun Records will also have Barry Berg as a co-excutive producers as well as Herb Nanas and Colin Escott as producers while Jayson Dinsmore and Julia Silverton will act as executive producers for CMT.
6. The Plot
Sun Records is all about the “birth of rock n’roll.” CMT’s official description for the show states: “Set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, Sun Records tells the untold 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.”
5. The Star
The series may be about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, but a huge focus will be on Sun Records founder Sam Phillips who will be portrayed by Chad Michael Murray. The role marks Murray’s first return to a major television series since his role as Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill from 2003-2012. While he has since appeared on series such as Chosen and Agent Carter, his is back in the leading role with Sun Records and the part of Sam Phillips has also required Murray to adopt an accent!
4. The Cast
With the part of Sam Phillips taken by Chad Michael Murray, the team behind Sun Records then had the difficult task of casting actors to portray icons such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Newcomer Drake Milligan will take on the role of Presley, while Kevin Fonteyene from Melissa & Joey has been cast as Cash. Others include Christian Lees as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jonah Lees as Jimmy Swaggart, Billy Gardell as Colonel Tom Parker, and Jennifer Holland as Becky Phillips.
Ever since announcing the new series, fans have been anxiously awaiting its premiere, and CMT finally set its premiere date as February 23 at 10 p.m. ET. Having the show on that time slot will round out CMT’s huge Thursday night lineup which also includes Nashville, and proves they have high hopes for their new series.
2. Name Change
In the early stages of the series CMT first announced it would be titled Million Dollar Quartet, but in late 2016 changed the name to Sun Records. The initial name was an ode to the name given to the early recording sessions of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins on December 4, 1956. For right now Sun Records is only an eight-part limited series which was inspired by the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, and is also based off the book written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott.
1. The Trailer
Leading up to its late February premiere, CMT has released quite a few trailers to give fans a glimpse of what to expect of the series and the actors. More than just the rise of some of the world’s most famous singers, the series promises to give a behind the scenes look at the start in their careers and will also focus on Sam Phillips’ own tumultuous home life.