Muscle Shoals, a drama based on the life of Rick Hall, producer of the legendary Muscle Shoals sound, has sold to ABC for development under a straight-to-series model, Deadline has learned. The project hails from Global Road Entertainment, Johnny Depp and Christie Dembrowski’s Infinitum Nihil, Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced, and Joshua D. Maurer and Alixandre Witlin’s City Entertainment. The drama has been in development at Global Road since 2016.
Emmy-nominated Bettina Gilois (Bessie) is writing the drama based on Hall’s life as chronicled in his autobiography The Man from Muscle Shoals: My Journey from Shame to Fame and the acclaimed Sundance documentary Muscle Shoals.
Depp, Dembrowski and Bobby DeLeon of Infinitum Nihil are executive producing along with Jason Felts, Justin Berfield and Rene Rigal at Branson’s Virgin Produced; and City Entertainment’s Maurer and Witlin. Nancy Wilson of the seminal group Heart serves as Executive Music Producer with Geoff Bywater through their Roadcase Productions shingle. Greg “Freddy” Camalier, who directed the documentary Muscle Shoals which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is also serving as executive producer.
The series is inspired by Hall’s true-life roller-coaster story as founder of the modern day “Muscle Shoals Sound,” and his Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Under Hall’s vision and inspiration, Muscle Shoals became the epicenter for recording some of the most iconic songs in history with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Percy Sledge, Otis Redding, Clarence Carter, and Arthur Alexander. Hall passed away at the age of 85 on January 2, 2018.
Gilois received an Emmy nomination for outstanding writing of a TV movie for HBO’s Bessie. The film earned 12 Emmy nominations, winning for Outstanding Television Movie. Her other writing credits include Disney’s McFarland USA and Glory Road and Lifetime’s The Lost Wife of Robert Durst.
“ABC is the perfect home for this incredible story of perseverance, creativity, and larger-than-life personalities,” said Mark Stern, President of Scripted Television, Global Road Entertainment. We are also honored to be working with this amazing creative team on such an auspicious project.”