AMC has given out a series order to the musical anthology dramedy “National Anthem,” with the cabler giving the series an initial eight-episode order.
“National Anthem” hails from writer Scott Z. Burns with “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad” executive producer Mark Johnson also set to executive produce the new series. The show is the first under Johnson’s overall deal with AMC Studios.
The series tells the story of a middle class Midwestern family tumbling down the ladder of American society, periodically bursting into song as they struggle to catch themselves. The legendary T Bone Burnett is attached as the series’ music producer with words and music by Craig Finn.
“’National Anthem’ is a family drama with deep resonant things to say about the fragility of our country, our world and our planet,” said Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks’ Entertainment Group and AMC Studios. “Plus…it’s a musical! In Scott’s genius hands this results in a hugely original, intense, funny and moving piece of writing. We’re so happy to work with Scott as he brings this unique story to life and absolutely delighted to continue our creative partnership with Mark, who we have been so lucky to work with on some of the most critically acclaimed series over the last decade.”
Burns is a screenwriter, director, producer and playwright. His featur writing credits include “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Informant!,” “Contagion,” “Side Effects” and “The Laundromat.” He has directed films such as “PU-239” starring Oscar Isaac and Paddy Considine and “The Report” starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening and Jon Hamm.
“Craig, T Bone and I are thrilled to be working with Mark and AMC,” Burns said. “We are so grateful for the chance to write about this moment in time and surround our characters with songs,” said Burns. “Sarah and Susie and everyone at AMC should be celebrated for their vision in saying ‘yes’ to this.”
Johnson is both an Oscar and Emmy winner for his work on “Rain Man” and “Breaking Bad” respectively. His other TV producing credits include “Halt and Catch Fire” and SundanceTV’s “Rectify.” His feature producing credits include “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Natural,” “Tin Men,” and “Bugsy.” He also produced the “Breaking Bad” movie “El Camino.”
“I still can’t believe that AMC and I have been able to assemble this dream team of storytellers,” said Johnson. “We are poised to create something both singular and entertaining, told with moments, dialogue and song.”
Burnett is well known for his collaborations with the Coen Brothers, including work on films like “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.” He won an Academy Award in 2010 for best original song for the film “Crazy Heart.”
Finn is best known as the singer of The Hold Steady. The band has released seven LPs, including “Thrashing Thru the Passion.” Finn has released four solo albums since 2012.
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