Dolly Parton is back in business with her former Broadway producing partner Bob Greenblatt for a series of made-for-TV movies inspired by her songs — and her own life story. The movies will be produced by NBC Entertainment, where Greenblatt — who helped Dolly Parton bring her stage musical version of 9 to 5 to Broadway in 2009 — now serves as chairman.
The announcement of the new deal comes just in time for Dolly Parton’s 67th birthday, which falls on Monday.
Parton’s career as one of the top country music stars and pop songwriters has spanned six decades, as the Tennessee native who grew up in an impoverished family of 12 children, wrote her first hit songs as early as 1967, when she was just 21-years-old.
Though in her early career, Parton was most easily recognized by her oversize hair and equally larger-than-life bustline, her biggest talent was as a songwriter. Among her hits were the 1973 single “Jolene,” and her number one hit of the following year, “I Will Always Love You,” which went on to become her single most enduring hit thanks largely to a 1992 version recorded by the late Whitney Houston, which in turn became perhaps that singer’s signature number as well.
Parton found her widest success outside of country music and the pop charts in the 1980s when she starred in the hit movie 9 to 5, for which she also wrote and performed the theme song — which itself topped the Billboard charts.
She later wrote the songs for the Broadway musical version of 9 to 5, which Greenblatt produced.
Exact details of the Dolly Parton/NBC deal were not specified — for example, how many TV movies NBC might produce under the arrangement, what specific songs could be adapted into NBC films, or whether the productions will be musicals or straight dramas.
“She’s just thinking about a lot of things going on in her life and things she’s written about and I had lunch with her a couple of months ago and she said, ‘You know, I’d love to see if there’s some movies we can develop out of the stories I’ve been writing about,'” Greenblatt said, explaining how the deal came to fruition. “We have not talked about them being musicals, but you know it’s not out of the question. I think they will have a lot of her music in them, but I don’t think they’ll be musicals, per se.”
Dolly Parton herself said she was “excited” by the deal, and that the NBC movies would be “fun and inspirational with a family audience in mind.”