Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell is taking a dramatic turn for his followup to the CBS comedy series. Gardell is set as one of the leads opposite Chad Michael Murray in Million Dollar Quartet (working title), CMT’s upcoming eight-episode scripted drama inspired by the Broadway musical.
Produced by Leslie Greif and directed by Roland Joffé, Million Dollar Quartet is a coming-of-age story set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, and tells the true story of young musicians Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis who combined the styles of hillbilly country with the 1950s R&B sound and changed the course of music forever.
Gardell will play Colonel Tom Parker, the infamous manager of Elvis Presley. A Dutch-born American, “The Colonel” was trusted by his famous client while displaying a ruthless devotion to his own financial gain and taking more than the traditional 10-15% of his earnings (reaching up to 50% by the end of Presley’s life).
For the past six seasons, actor-comedian Gardell starred opposite Melissa McCarthy on CBS’ comedy Mike & Molly, which is heading into its final episodes. Gardell also continues to tour and just wrapped a run hosting Monopoly Millionaires Club. He is repped by UTA, manager Chris DiPetta at Artist Management International and Hansen Jacobson.
In Million Dollar Quartet, Gardell joins previously cast Murray (Sam Phillips), Jennifer Holland (Becky Phillips), Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis) and Jonah Lees (Jimmy Swaggart). Production begins this spring in Memphis for a premiere this November on CMT. The series is timed to the 60th anniversary of the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” recording sessions featuring icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
Million Dollar Quartet is based on the book written by Floyd Mutrux and Escott, with original concept and direction by Mutrux. The series is produced by Thinkfactory Media with Greif and Gil Grant serving as executive producers, Barry Berg as co-executive producer and Herb Nanas and Colin Escott as producers.