TV

Million Dollar Quartet: Billy Gardell to Star as Elvis Presley’s Manager Colonel Tom Parker

Keir O’Donnell Joins as Pioneering Radio DJ Dewey Phillips

CMT’s Million Dollar Quartet (working title) ensemble continues to expand as the network today announced that Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) joins the scripted drama as Colonel Tom Parker, a visionary who was central to the success of Elvis’ career. Keir O’Donnell (Fargo, American Sniper) joins as disc jockey Dewey Phillips, a man who ran one of the most successful radio stations in Memphis and was most notably the first DJ to play Elvis.

Gardell and O’Donnell join previously announced cast members Chad Michael Murray (Sun Records founder Sam Phillips), Drake Milligan (Elvis Presley), Kevin Fonteyne (Johnny Cash), Christian Lees (Jerry Lee Lewis), Jonah Lees (Jimmy Swaggart), Jennifer Holland (Sam’s wife Becky Phillips) and Margaret Anne Florence (Sam’s assistant Marion Keisker). The series is timed to the historic 60th anniversary of the famed “Million Dollar Quartet” recording sessions featuring icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Production begins this spring and the series is slated to premiere this November.

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 untold true 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.

The series marks one of two scripted projects coming to CMT this year. This summer, CMT will premiere, Still The King, an ensemble comedy starring Billy Ray Cyrus, Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy, Mall Rats), Madison Iseman (Laid in America and Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger) Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls and Party of Five, Leslie David Baker (The Office), Kevin Farley (Eight Crazy Nights and The Waterboy) and more.

Writer and producer for CMT.com. Lives in Los Angeles and once glued herself to the TV.