'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors': Singer's life is adapted for small screen

'Coat' will air on NBC on Dec. 10 and tells the story of Parton's childhood. Parton is known for such songs as 'Islands in the Stream' and 'Here You Come Again.'

Wade Payne/Invision/AP
Dolly Parton performs in concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. in 2015.

The story of country singer Dolly Parton’s childhood comes to TV with the film “Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors,” which is debuting on Dec. 10 on NBC.

Parton has become a country legend and released various hit songs. Her awards include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She also received various Golden Globe nominations for her acting and musical work for films, including “9 to 5.” 

“Coat” stars Alyvia Alyn Lind as a young Parton, who lived near the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The movie tells the story of Parton growing up in her large family, the mother of which is portrayed by singer Jennifer Nettles of the country group Sugarland.

The fact that the biopic of a musical heavyweight like Parton is coming to TV rather than the movie theater is interesting. It may echo the new status of TV as a prestigious place for projects rather than the genre coming second place to movies. 

A biopic about Liberace titled “Behind the Candelabra” aired on HBO in 2013 and not only proved popular but also netted an Emmy for outstanding miniseries or movie and Emmy acting nominations for stars Matt Damon and Scott Bakula (Michael Douglas won a Golden Globe for his acting work). 

In addition, critics have been noting the themes of faith in "Coat," with religion being presented as an important part of Parton’s family’s life. While not all of them have done well, Hollywood has seen various religion-based projects succeed at both the multiplex and on TV in the last decades.

The miniseries “The Bible,” which aired on the History Channel in 2013, broke ratings records for its network and proved able to compete ratings-wise with the AMC smash “The Walking Dead.” 

A follow-up, “A.D.: The Bible,” which aired this past spring, did not prove as successful in terms of ratings, however. 

Meanwhile, the 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ” became incredibly successful at the box office and the 2014 movie “Heaven Is For Real” performed well also. 

And smaller faith-based movies like “War Room,” which came out this past August, have impressed industry watchers with their box office performance, which they achieve without name-recognition stars.

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