Ride through the Sex- and Drug-addled Music Business at the Dawn of Punk, Disco, and Hip-Hop on "Vinyl"

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10 February 2016
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Vinyl
Photo: Courtesy of HBO
"Vinyl"
Premieres Sunday, February 14 at 9 PM ET/PT, exclusively on HBO
 
            Richie Finestra, the founder and president of American Century Records, is trying to save his company and soul without destroying everyone in his path. With his passion for music and discovering talent gone by the wayside, and American Century on the precipice of being sold, he has a life-altering event that reignites his love of music, but severely damages his personal life.

            Created by Golden Globe winner and Emmy® nominee Mick Jagger (HBO’s “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown”) & Academy Award® winner and Emmy® winner Martin Scorsese (“The Departed,” HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”) & acclaimed author Rich Cohen and Academy Award® nominee and multiple Emmy® winner Terence Winter (“The Wolf of Wall Street”; HBO’s “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire”), Vinyl is a ride through the sex- and drug-addled music business of 1970s New York at the dawn of punk, disco and hip-hop.

 
 
            The HBO drama series kicks off its ten-episode season Sunday, February 14 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) with a pilot directed by Scorsese, from a teleplay by Terence Winter and George Mastras, and story by Rich Cohen & Mick Jagger & Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter, followed by hour-long episodes debuting subsequent Sundays at the same time.

             VINYL stars two-time Emmy® winner Bobby Cannavale (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”), as Richie Finestra, SAG Award nominee Olivia Wilde (HBO’s “Doll and Em”) and multiple Emmy® winner Ray Romano (“Everybody Loves Raymond”). Scorsese, Jagger and Winter executive produce along with Victoria Pearman, Rick Yorn, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, John Melfi, Allen Coulter and George Mastras. Executive music producer, Mick Jagger. Winter serves as showrunner.

            Richie Finestra’s wife, Devon (Olivia Wilde), a former actress and model who was part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene in 1960s New York City, is now a suburban mother of two. Richie’s personal and professional crises put additional stress on their relationship, inspiring a desire to return to her Bohemian roots.

            Meanwhile, as head of promotions and a partner at American Century, Zak Yankovich’s (Ray Romano) experience in the industry and hundred-dollar handshakes make him an invaluable part of the company, though he works in Richie’s shadow. Their professional relationship is strained by disagreements over how to guide the company through the music landscape of 1973.

Vinyl
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

            Other series regulars include: Ato Essandoh as Lester Grimes, Richie’s first client in the early 1960s; Max Casella as Julius “Julie” Silver, head of A&R of American Century, who struggles to stay hip and relevant in the young man’s game of rock ‘n’ roll; P.J. Byrne as Scott Levitt, company attorney and junior partner at American Century, whose legal maneuvering and abrasive personality continually test Richie’s patience; J.C. MacKenzie as Skip Fontaine, head of sales and partner at American Century, whose savvy and sometimes questionable business practices inflate American Century’s profits; Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as Ingrid, a member of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene in the 1960s, and a former friend of Devon and Richie; Juno Temple as Jamie Vine, an ambitious A&R assistant at American Century, who uses her keen abilities to blend into the various subcultures of the New York music scene; Jack Quaid as Clark Morelle, a junior A&R executive with misguided ambition; James Jagger as Kip Stevens, founder and lead singer of The Nasty Bits, a raw New York City rock band; and Paul Ben-Victor as Maury Gold, Richie’s mentor and owner of Rondelay Records.
 
February’s episodes:
            “Pilot”
            Debut: SUNDAY, FEB. 14 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
           
            New York City, 1973. Together with his partners, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale), president of American Century Records, is on the verge of selling his struggling company to German Polygram, in a deal that includes an impending distribution agreement with Led Zeppelin. But after a disastrous meeting, it’s clear that the sale is in jeopardy.
            Heading home to Greenwich, Conn., Richie takes a detour to an unplanned reunion with Lester Grimes (Ato Essandoh), a musical artist with whom he has a complicated history. With thoughts of Lester weighing on him, Richie heads to the office, where, in addition to the Led Zeppelin situation, he learns of another problem: Bombastic Frank “Buck” Rogers (Andrew Dice Clay), owner of a chain of radio stations, is about to boycott American Century due to a perceived slight by one of the label’s artists.
            In crisis mode, Richie gives his A&R department the mandate to find new acts, prompting office assistant Jamie Vine (Juno Temple) to bring in The Nasty Bits, a proto-punk band unlike anything anyone has ever heard.
            Meanwhile, Richie enlists thuggish independent promotion man Joe Corso (Bo Dietl) to help with the Buck Rogers situation. After a three-day coke binge, Corso summons the sober Richie to Rogers’ home, where things go horribly awry.
            Despite American Century’s troubles, Richie learns that Polygram has agreed to buy the company after all. That night, with both Lester and the Buck Rogers debacle on his mind, he goes violently off the wagon, trashing the den of his Connecticut home and severely jeopardizing his relationship with his wife, Devon (Olivia Wilde), and their two children.
            Richie ultimately finds himself coked out and on his own, drawn by a crowd of young people to the Mercer Arts Center in Manhattan, where he sees The New York Dolls perform, a night that sets him on a completely new course.
          Other HBO playdates: Feb. 14 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 15 (8:00 p.m.), 16 (10:30 p.m., 3:50 a.m.), 17 (9:00 p.m.), 18 (12:25 a.m.), 20 (11:00 p.m.) and 22 (10:15 p.m.)
            HBO2 playdates: Feb. 15 (10:00 p.m.), 21 (7:00 p.m.) and 26 (7:00 p.m.), and March 12 (4:00 p.m.) and 26 (2:00 p.m.)

             
Vinyl
Photo: Courtesy of HBO

            Episode #2: “Yesterday Once More”
            Debut: SUNDAY, FEB. 21 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

            With German Polygram executives in town to complete the deal for American Century, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) delivers a bombshell that shocks the prospective buyers, as well as his partners, Zak Yankovich (Ray Romano), ACR’s head of promotions, and Skip Fontaine (J.C. MacKenzie), head of sales. When the dust settles, the Germans storm out of the ACR offices, leaving Richie to face the ire of Zak, Skip and company attorney Scott Levitt (P.J. Byrne).
            In Greenwich, Devon (Olivia Wilde) ponders what to do about her husband, who broke his promise by going off the wagon, though her anger is tempered by memories of the man she fell in love with back in 1966, when she was a fixture in the downtown art/music scene and a muse to Andy Warhol.
            Back at American Century, Richie gives the A&R team a mandate to land a cutting-edge act or lose their jobs.  Jamie (Juno Temple), pushing The Nasty Bits, is encouraged that Richie is interested in the band, but dismayed she’ll be working with A&R head Julius “Julie” Silver (Max Casella), who vows to polish the Bits’ sound. A devastated Zak considers changing his alibi for a recent injury, while Richie decides to pay a visit to an estranged mentor.
            Other HBO playdates: Feb. 21 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 22 (12:10 a.m.), 23 (9:00 p.m., 4:30 a.m.), 24 (10:00 p.m.), 25 (2:10 a.m.) and 27 (1:30 a.m.)
            HBO2 playdates: Feb. 26 (9:00 p.m.) and 28 (8:00 p.m.), and March 4 (8:00 p.m.), 12 (6:00 p.m.) and 26 (4:00 p.m.)
 

            Episode #3: “Whispered Secrets”
            Debut: SUNDAY, FEB. 28 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)
           
            At a record producers’ banquet honoring Maury Gold (Paul Ben-Victor), Richie (Bobby Cannavale) is embarrassed when the emcee, rival record exec Jackie Jervis (Ken Marino), makes a joke about the failed German Polygram deal. Later, Maury and mob cohort Corrado Galasso (Armen Garo) pay a visit to American Century to probe a detective’s recent inquiry, and Joe Corso (Bo Dietl) drops by to pitch Richie a demo by his banquet date, Nora (Bianca Madison).
            As Richie cuts down his roster to free up money to sign and promote new artists, junior A&R rep Clark Morelle (Jack Quaid) courts Alice Cooper (Dustin Ingram) in an attempt to sign him to a solo deal. Trying to find purpose in the suburbs, Devon (Olivia Wilde) turns to an old friend in hopes of raising funds to renovate a Greenwich barn that could house a displaced Russian ballet company. Approaching Lester (Ato Essandoh) about releasing some of his old blues demos, Richie reopens old wounds instead. The revamped Nasty Bits fail to win over Richie, prompting Jamie (Juno Temple) to change up their set list.
          Other HBO playdates: Feb. 28 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 29 (10:25 p.m.), and March 1 (9:00 p.m.), 2 (10:00 p.m.), 3 (2:35 a.m.) and 5 (11:40 p.m.)
            HBO2 playdates: March 1 (1:45 a.m.), 4 (9:00 p.m.), 6 (8:00 p.m.), 11 (8:00 p.m.), 12 (7:00 p.m.) and 26 (5:00 p.m.)

 
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