Multiple Grammy Winner and Oscar Nominee T Bone Burnett to Serve as Executive Musical Producer of Upcoming EPIX (TM) Original Program 'Tough Trade'
Burnett Will Supervise Music Placement And Create Original Music For EPIX's First Series, Drama About Dysfunctional Country Music Dynasty
NEW YORK and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 1 -- Multiple Grammy winner and Oscar-nominated producer, musician and songwriter T Bone Burnett will be the executive musical producer and an executive producer for Lionsgate's "Tough Trade," the first original series pilot for EPIX (TM), the new multiplatform entertainment service from Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the leading next generation studio. The announcement was made today by EPIX President and CEO Mark Greenberg and Lionsgate Music President Jay Faires. EPIX launched on October 30, 2009.
"Tough Trade" is a provocative, contemporary one-hour drama about a three-generation Nashville music dynasty whose penchant for drink, debauchery and divorce has left them both morally corrupt and on the verge of bankruptcy. The family with little left is pinning its hopes on its former black sheep, a budding country star turned alternative rock heart throb. "Tough Trade" brings viewers behind the scenes and into the living room to expose the tragic and sometimes comedic secrets, scandals and sorrows of this unforgettable American family.
T Bone Burnett is renowned for his exceptional and wide-ranging work as a producer, musician and songwriter. He won five Grammy Awards for his work on O Brother, Where Art Thou? for which he wrote the score and produced the multiplatinum soundtrack, which also spawned two highly successful national concert tours, and he won Grammys for his work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. In 2002 he was honored with the Grammy Award for Non-Classical Producer of the Year. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for "The Scarlet Tide" from the film Cold Mountain. He oversaw the music for the Grammy Award-winning platinum soundtrack to the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line and cult classic Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski. Burnett has produced such artists as Roy Orbison, The Wallflowers, k.d. lang and Counting Crows. Songs performed by Burnett have been covered by Emmylou Harris, Arlo Guthrie, Warren Zevon and many others.
"Burnett brings a track record of experience and musical talent that cuts across genres of film, television and music in a unique and inspiring way," said Greenberg. "EPIX is focused on producing truly premium original programming, and we are absolutely thrilled to have Burnett place his musical stamp on our first original pilot."
"T Bone Burnett is an iconic musical talent who is the perfect choice to serve as executive musical producer for this show," said Faires and Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate's president of television programming and production. "His selection reflects our commitment to produce premium shows with premium talent for our premium new network. We know that he and the cast will distinguish the show with truly memorable music true to its Nashville roots."
Burnett's work has earned him particular recognition and respect in the country music world, making him an ideal choice for the role as music supervisor on a show that focuses on the lives of a country music family. The soundtrack and score Burnett produced for O Brother, Where Art Thou? garnered awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music in addition to the Grammys.
The addition of Burnett builds on a stellar cast which includes celebrated playwright and actor Sam Shepard (Lionsgate and Relativity Media's Brothers, The Assassination of Jesse James, The Right Stuff), who will portray the patriarch of the Tucker family. The creative team is led by executive producer and showrunner Jenji Kohan (Lionsgate's "Weeds"). The pilot was written by creator/co-executive producer Chris Offutt ("True Blood," "Weeds") and will be directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Rendition, the Oscar nominee Tsotsi). Executive producers also include Sean and Bryan Furst (The Matador, The Cooler). The show was developed by Furst Films under the company's first look deal with Lionsgate Television. The production begins shooting on December 3 in Nashville.
Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) is the leading next generation studio with a strong and diversified presence in the production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, video-on-demand and digitally delivered content. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel platform assets. The most recent release of its feature film business, PRECIOUS, has earned critical raves and generated remarkable per screen averages at the box office in limited release, and it expanded to 629 screens on November 20. The Company's home entertainment business has grown to more than 7% market share and is an industry leader in its box office-to-DVD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 12,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
About Lionsgate Music:
Lionsgate Music oversees music for Lionsgate's film and TV slate, builds the Company's music publishing assets and releases its soundtracks and scores. The music team has received two Oscar nominations for Marco Beltrami's score for 3:10 TO YUMA and for Bird York's song "In The Deep" for Best Picture Academy Award Winner CRASH. Current and upcoming projects include the soundtrack for PRECIOUS, to be released through Matriarch/Geffen Records and featuring a lead track from Mary J. Blige. PRECIOUS is directed by Lee Daniels (MONSTER'S BALL) and presented by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. The film has already generated rave critical reviews and remarkable per screen averages at the box office in its limited rollout. Additional upcoming projects include the Jim Sheridan film BROTHERS, scheduled for release in December featuring music from U2, as well as music for such upcoming films as THE EXPENDABLES, starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li, FIVE KILLERS, starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, KICK ASS, starring Nicolas Cage, and Academy Award winning director Paul Haggis' THE NEXT THREE DAYS, starring Russell Crowe. The Lionsgate Music team is also working on the Starz! television series Crash, featuring music from Paul McCartney and The Doors, the third season of AMC's Emmy-winning series Mad Men, scored by the critically lauded composer David Carbonara, and its live musical revue, Mad Men Live Revue, which premiered last fall to rave reviews at Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre, with more productions upcoming.
EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), is a next-generation multiplatform premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service launched on October 30, 2009. EPIX is currently distributed by Verizon FiOS on Channel 395 in SD and Channel 895 in HD and will be distributed by other partners. With access to more than 15,000 motion pictures spanning the vast libraries of the partner studios, EPIX will deliver films from Paramount, Paramount Vantage, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies released theatrically on or after January 1, 2008 and MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1, 2009, which will be available exclusively to its subscribers. In addition, it will carry up to 22 Roadside Attractions films slated for theatrical release in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and up to 20 of Samuel Goldwyn's films slated for theatrical release in 2010 and 2011.
Providing a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service, EPIX will air new Hollywood titles plus classic feature films, original series, and music and comedy specials. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up on video-on-demand, online and on the linear channel. Further, EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry's most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available online to subscribers via its enhanced service EPIX Megaplex.
The joint venture controls all rights to EPIX's programming and Viacom provides operational support, including marketing and affiliate services through its MTV Networks division.
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