Actor to play Nashville patriarch in Epix drama

Playwright-thesp Sam Shepard has been tapped to star in “Tough Trade,” the first original drama pilot set for the fledgling Epix feevee channel.

Production on the pilot is set to begin in Nashville on Dec. 3. Show revolves around a sprawling family in the country music biz. Shepard will play the patriarch of the Tucker clan.

Pilot was penned for Lionsgate TV by Chris Offutt (“True Blood”) and will be exec produced by Jenji Kohan of “Weeds.”

Lionsgate is a partner in Epix with Viacom and MGM. Channel made its debut late last month and is in the midst of negotiating carriage deals with cable and sat-TV operators.

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