Deadline Hollywood last week announced a new series featuring life in Jackson has been greenlighted by Amazon Prime Studios.
The project is the latest collaboration between Amy B. Harris (“Sex and the City,” “The Carrie Diaries”) and Jason Reilly (“Jane the Virgin”, “Puppy Love”).
Little is known about the drama other than its working title: “Teton.”
The idea for the series came from Grammy-nominated country musician Cameron Duddy, who plays bass for the country group Midland and has connections to the area..
Duddy is no stranger to Jackson. He was married in Jackson in 2013 at the palatial estate of Connie Stevens. He’s the stepson of actress Joely Fisher and stepgrandson of actress Connie Stevens, who owned a home in Jackson for decades.
Duddy also is comfortable behind the camera. His father, Christopher Duddy, is a noted cinematographer.
Duddy has concentrated mainly on music videos. He directed Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” and Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.” He’s also worked with OneRepublic, Fifth Harmony and other artists.
Duddy is probably best known for his work in front of the camera and on stage as the bassist for Midland. The Texas trio rose to fame behind their breakout single “Drinkin’ Problem” in 2017. Follow-up hits “Make a Little” and “Mr. Lonely” solidified the group as country music’s rising stars. Duddy directed all the group’s videos.
Trivia question for hardcore fans: Midland actually formed as a result of Duddy’s impromptu jam with lead singer Mark Wystrach at Duddy’s wedding. The two hit it off so well musically they quickly formed a band a year later.
TVs Heavy Hitters Involved
According to the Deadline exclusive, Teton is the co-creation of Harris and Reilly. Both will serve as writers and showrunners (a more involved type of executive producer).
Amazon aired Harris’ “The Wilds” most recently for a two-year run. This will be the studio’s first partnership with her production company, A.B. Baby Productions.
Reilly worked with Harris as a director on “Fetching” and “The Carrie Diaries.” His other directing credits include “Jane the Virgin” and “Two Broke Girls.”
Duddy’s insight into Jackson life undoubtedly provided a catalyst for the show’s premise. His involvement, other than executive producer and contributing writer, remains to be seen.
Amazon is reportedly fast-tracking the project. Shows have been sketched out and partially written, though no casting has been done.
Powder Plot Thickens
The show’s premise will highlight the juxtaposition of life in Teton County, Wyoming, using the ever-widening income disparity between the have-everythings and the have-nots in tiny Jackson as a jumping-off point.
The upstairs-downstairs drama concept was made popular by television shows like “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey,” where viewers enjoyed a look into the contrasting lives of downstairs servants and upstairs elite.
In Teton, show producers intend to use the ski bum community — known locally as “skids” — as the couch-surfing powder hounds they are.
The tightknit mountain community in Jackson is eccentric, lovable and forever bordering broke. Pitting that stereotype against uberwealthy third-home owners should easily provide plenty of fodder for an eight-episode run.
According to Deadline’s coverage, the series will follow Kick Taylor, a ski racing legend, who returns to her hometown of Jackson to recoup from an emotional meltdown suffered while competing worldwide. Taylor returns home to deal with her mother’s death, and the family and friends she left behind in her pursuit of gold.
“There will be epic skiing, envy-inducing real estate, apres ski cocktails, cozy nights around a fire, a moose encounter or two and high stakes drama as Kick reckons with whether it is possible to ‘go big AND go home,’” Deadline reported.
Hollywood In The Hole
Certainly, there is expectation that the show will have wide audience appeal outside of Wyoming, where Jackson remains a chic brand still undiscovered by many.
Jackson already sees more than 3 million visitors a year as tourists pass through the gateway town on their way to Yellowstone National Park during the summer, and jet in during the winter for an unrivaled ski destination experience.
But don’t count on famed Wyoming author C.J. Box to be setting his DVR device to record.
“I can’t wait to not watch this,” The New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 books tweeted April 27.
Box has dabbled in the small screen as well, serving as executive producer on ABC’s “Big Sky,” which is based on his Cassie Dewell novels, as well as a series following the popular Joe Pickett serie, airing on Paramount TV.
Jackson has been the setting for numerous film and television projects. “Shane,” “Any Which Way You Can” and “The Big Trail” pop to mind as big screen classics. Parts of “Django Unchained” and “Rocky IV” were also filmed in the Jackson Hole area.
The short-lived television series “Then Came Bronson" was shot in Jackson during the summer of 1969.
More recent TV appearances include the “Modern Family” season opener for Season 3 back in 2011. That was shot at Lost Creek dude ranch.
HBO’s post-apocalyptic thriller “The Last of Us” wrapped its first season run with the main characters returning home to Jackson, though the sixth episode did not shoot on location.