Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’ was a surprise ratings hit, ‘Jolene’ is next

Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors' on NBC
NBC’s made-for-TV movie based on Dolly Parton’s 1971 song Coat of Many Colors drew record ratings numbers. According to Variety, the movie, which aired on December 10, drew in 13.2 million viewers, based on national estimates from Nielsen. It was the most watched movie on the major networks in 4 years. The movie brought the network its largest overall audience in the 9 – 11 p.m time period (excluding sports) since we all hate watched Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music Live in December of 2013. It even surpassed the audience for the network’s well-received The Wiz Live! Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles (who played Dolly’s mother), upon hearing the news, tweeted “Wow wow wow” and said she was “blown away.”

The movie also starred Rick Schroder as Dolly’s father and newcomer Alyvia Alyn Lind playing a 9-year-old Dolly. The song (and movie) was based on Dolly’s childhood in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. The story revolves around a family tragedy and a patchwork coat made for Dolly by her mother that changes her life. Not my kind of thing, but probably a great film for the whole family. If you missed it, NBC is currently streaming the entire movie on its website.

Dolly described the film as having a strong anti-bullying message. At a press event held when the project was announced, Dolly said, “I’ve had so many people tell me through the years that this song itself has had a healing effect on them, whether it’s about their race, their nationality, whether they were overweight or whether they were crippled, people just identify with it. When people make you feel less about yourself, it’s a hard thing to deal with.”

The movie was such a success that the network has ordered a movie based on Dolly’s 1974 hit Jolene (the song has been covered by countless artists, such as this 2012 cover by Miley Cyrus – which I have to grudgingly admit is really good.) What Dolly song could be next? Islands in the Stream? I Will Always Love You? 9 to 5…oh, wait…I think that one’s been done (but I’m up for Dolly reuniting with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on Grace and Frankie – they’ve got 2 seasons to make it happen!)

Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors' on NBC

Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors' on NBC

Stars and producers of “Coat of Many Colors”

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37 Responses to “Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’ was a surprise ratings hit, ‘Jolene’ is next”

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  1. Senaber says:

    I just love Dolly.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Me, too. Her goodness is mixed with naughtiness in just the right way.

    • mayamae says:

      How can you not love a woman who says things like – it costs a lot of money to look this cheap. She knows what she looks like, she knows what people think of her, and she’s fine with it.

    • Pinky says:

      She’s all goodness…and silicone. (No judgment, just humor.)

  2. LAK says:

    i love the music of Jolene. Hate, HATE the lyrics. the lyrics are like nails to a blackboard to me.

  3. Tforce7878 says:

    I’m not surprised. Dolly Parton is awesome!

  4. astrid says:

    She sure knows how to bring smiles to the masses. Good for her.

  5. Nancy says:

    She may have been wearing her coat of many colors, but man I love Jolene….best country song ever…..Don’t take his love just because you can… if anyone could take a man from Dolly! Bless her heart……and jugs

  6. Christin says:

    I thought it was a quality production. And, having grown up with Dolly as a regional treasure since her Porter TV show days, I had no idea about the tragedy depicted in the movie.

    I am looking forward to how Jolene is depicted. The song is about a situation after she moved to Nashville, so I assume it will be a broader story about leaving the mountains and getting her career going.

  7. SusanneToo says:

    Dolly is the best, great writer, great singer. I have a lot of her albums. One of my former students worked at Dollywood in the musical revues and said she was the nicest person in the world. She never forgot where she came from.

  8. grabbyhands says:

    This woman is truly a national treasure. Humble, self effacing and truly accepting of everyone.

    The White Stripes did a really good cover of Jolene.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      Agree ^^^ She has worked HARD, is down-home authentic, laughs about her wigs, supports other singers, and appears to be genuinely kind-hearted despite her zillions of dollars that could easily isolate her in a bubble. She’s not Paula Dean!

  9. Tig says:

    Will be attending a wedding near Dollywood I the spring, and hope to go to DW. She is amazingly talented! I wish I had a dime for every time I sang along to “Here you come again”. Totally not surprised that this movie was a hit. Just curious- bet this movie and Adele’s show-that has to be the most viewers for NBC in ages.

    • SamiHami says:

      Ah! What a great song! I haven’t heard that in ages.

      Absolutely love Dolly. She’s never apologized for being who she is and she comes across as a genuinely nice person.

  10. Betsy says:

    I saw this but had something else to do. I’m assuming it’s on Hulu, but I hope they rerun it. It feels like something that should be watched on TV.

  11. Christin says:

    The network and Dolly actually had a four-movie deal. I don’t think the success of the first one led to ordering Jolene. It was already being written as the second movie when Coat aired.

  12. mayamae says:

    What other Dolly song should be made into movies? How about Down from Dover – one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard.

  13. Goo says:

    We could all learn a thing or two from Dolly…. Priceless!

  14. suze says:

    I love Dolly but the show was particularly awful. But awful in the way that I couldn’t stop watching.

    • Girlinbayou says:

      Me toooooo..

      It was too over the top sassy and the it just draged on and on and on. 90 mins was all that special needed.

  15. GoldenHouseSouth says:

    I LOVED this movie! I watched the whole thing and didn’t even change the channel during the commercials, I can’t wait for the next two movies. Knowing that every word and bar of music in the movie came from Dolly brought me to tears. She’s such an inspiration for so many.

  16. isabelle says:

    Smoky Mountain Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Wish they would show it every year on network TV. I’ve seen the actual coat of many colors in person. My 7th grade self wanted to wear the shait out of it. Heck I would wear it now, it is fun and well made.

    • Christin says:

      I like that movie as well and have unsuccessfully searched for it during the holidays the past two years. It used to play at least once each November/December.

  17. supposedtobeworking says:

    I actually saw an interview with her – she has 4 movies in production, Jolene is the next one. I think she is doing 9 to 5, but I can’t remember for sure.

  18. littlestar says:

    The child actress stars on Young and the Restless! Sadly I seem to be the only one noting that on here lol.

  19. PJ says:

    Sorry but, Mindy Smith’s version of Jolene is by far the most beautiful (and fitting to the lyrics) that I have EVER heard-even better than Dolly’s original. *Sacrilege* I know but, she uses that beautiful soprano voice of hers and makes the tune into one that is completely gut-wrenching as it should be. (Again, the lyrics.) Miley turned it into some loud, trashy, fast paced ditty and, I just can’t.

    Anyway, I got sucked into ‘Coat of Many Colors’ totally by accident. I only planned to watch the first few minutes but there I was, 2 hours later still watching 😄 I thought Jennifer Nettles was fantastic as a loving, warm mama bear and the actress who portrayed young Dolly was adorable and full of sass! I’m only sad they didn’t show more of her life as she grew up.