Billy Joel Songs Inspire a New Anthology Series For MGM TV

Billy Joel songs

Billy Joel, the singer/songwriter behind hits like “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl,” and “The Longest Time” and the sixth best-selling artist in the world, is getting his own TV series. Sort of.

Nearly fifty years of Billy Joel songs will provide the basis for a new anthology series that’s currently in development at MGM TV, and the title of the show is taken from Joel’s favorite song from his entire discography. Learn more about the concept below.

The Hollywood Reporter brings word about the new Billy Joel-inspired series, which will be called Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. MGM TV is teaming up with Universal Music Publishing Group to make what they’re calling an “arc-thology” show that won’t be a retelling of Joel’s life, but instead will examine the people who appear in his music. According to the report, each episode will be “based on lyrics of his hits and populated by characters from his songs, including the Stranger, the Piano Man, Mamma Leone and Sgt. O’Leary. The tracks will be reimagined and rearranged by Joel’s music team — with his input — and take his tunes in new directions.”

“Billy Joel is a beautiful storyteller, and it just so happens that his stories are accompanied alongside remarkable songs,” MGM TV president of development and production Steve Stark said. “This series is going to focus less on Billy’s life and more on the stories inside his catalog of classic songs.”

Kevin Fox (Law & Order: SVU) created the show and is executive producing with Billy Joel and Steve Cohen. This is the first time an artist’s entire discography will be the foundation for a television show, although THR reminds us that a show based on a song isn’t a new concept – ABC is developing a show based on the John Mayer song “Heart of Life,” but that’s just a single track, not a whole body of work.

Straightforward biopics will likely never go out of style (I think there’s just something too primally satisfying for audiences about that formula for the format to ever truly die), but I’m personally glad to see the rise of more creative adaptations like this and Rocketman, this year’s Elton John film which took a more heightened, stylized approach to telling the musician’s life story.

Billy Joel played himself on one episode of Kevin Can Wait and provided the voice of Dodger in the Disney animated movie Oliver & Company, and his discography also inspired the 2002 stage musical Movin’ Out. Listen to the dude’s completely bonkers piano skills in “Prelude/Angry Young Man” below, followed by a selection of a few of his bigger hits:

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