×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge

While biopic of defunct mother-daughter country duo the Judds may not be exactly what the public was clamoring for, this four-hour miniseries (exec produced by mom Naomi) is above average for the genre, with a lot of good music in addition to the expected hard times and heartaches.

With:
Cast: Kathleen York, Viveka Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Melinda Dillon, Cari Shayne, Megan Ward, Nick Searcy, Joshua Schaefer, Chris Mulkey, Laura Morgan, Lisa Waltz, A.J. Langer, Elizabeth Moss, Dolly Parton, Mae Whitman, Rob Nilsson, David Purdham, Billy Vera, M.C. Gainey, Mary-Joan Negro, Paul Bartel, Jack Bender, Krystal Benn, Mark Boone Junior, Karlie and Kirstie Brown, Monte Byrum, Martin Davidson, Maxwell Gail, Gina Gallego, Trishalee Hardy, Buck Johnson, Robert Kerbeck, Jeanette Kerner, Piper Lincoln, Michael Marich, Larry Moss, Nic Roth, Jason Sanford, David Schickele, Jennifer Starr, Sebastian Tillinger, Sandee Van Dyke, voice of Ashley Judd.

While biopic of defunct mother-daughter country duo the Judds may not be exactly what the public was clamoring for, this four-hour miniseries (exec produced by mom Naomi) is above average for the genre, with a lot of good music in addition to the expected hard times and heartaches.

From small-town Kentucky, single mother Diana Judd virtually reinvented herself and daughter Christina as “Naomi” and “Wynonna”; duo’s first RCA single was a hit in 1983, and they never looked back. Judds separated professionally in 1991, purportedly due to Naomi’s battle with hepatitis. Wynonna went on to a solo career, while Mom, now remarried, wrote the book upon which this show is based. Second daughter, Ashley, is a model and actress, seen most recently in “Sisters.”

Named after duo’s 1990 hit single, “Love Will Build a Bridge” begins and ends with the Judds’ final concert, which was aired as a pay-per-view television event and released on homevideo. In between is duo’s life, starting with Diana’s teenage years and first marriage. Second two hours detail their rise to almost instant stardom.

Film is narrated by real-life Ashley, replacing previously recorded voiceover by Megan Ward, who plays her in her adult incarnation (Elizabeth Moss, Mae Whitman and Piper Lincoln portray Ashley in earlier years).

Kathleen York and Cari Shayne play Naomi, with Viveka Davis, Laura Morgan, Sandee Van Dyke, Krystal Benn and twins Karlie and Kirstie Brown as Wynonna at various ages. Adults York and Davis resemble their prototypes acceptably. Singing voices are provided by real-life Judds.

Main problem, though not major, is that the script, by Rama Laurie Stagner (who wrote the feature “Blue Sky”), doesn’t give Naomi or Wynonna enough credit. Naomi is here shown as more showbiz-naive than she was. She’s shown working at an L.A. coffee shop, but not shown working for 5th Dimension manager Marc Gordon , which Naomi also did (she also modeled while in Los Angeles, with credits including at least one album cover). Understandably a bit rebellious — how would you like working with your parent or sibling 24 hours a day? — the real Wynonna, though uneducated, is smarter and wittier than shown.

First two hours hammer away at Judds’ rough early life, which wasn’t nearly as harrowing as that endured by many Americans. Still ripe for analysis is Wynonna’s attitude toward her music: Early on, she seems incapable of sustaining interest in anything else, yet it’s Naomi who’s optimistic about their future as professional entertainers.

Notable supporting performances are turned in by David Purdham as Diana’s first husband; Chris Mulkey as a semi-sleazy L.A. boyfriend; and Bruce Greenwood as Larry Strickland, a lapsed gospel singer who, after a rocky romance, becomes Naomi’s second husband. Melinda Dillon is seen, too briefly, as Diana’s mother, and Paul Bartel has (for him) a restrained turn as Nashville disc jockey and eminence grise Ralph Emery.

Stagner’s script includes welcome flashes of wit; Bobby Roth keeps a tight rein; production designer Stephen Storer and director of photography Shelly Johnson make the most of various L.A. locations. And, of course, the music’s great.

Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge

(NBC, Sun. (14), Mon. (15), 9-11 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by the Avnet/Kerner Co. Executive producers, Naomi Judd , Jordan Kerner, Jon Avnet; supervising producer, C. Tad Devlin; producer, Salli Newman; associate producer, Greg Griffin; director, Bobby Roth; script, Rama Laurie Stagner, based on the book "Love Can Build a Bridge," by Naomi Judd and Bud Schaetzle.

Crew: Camera, Shelly Johnson; editor, Henk Van Eeghen; production designer, Stephen Storer; art director, Clayton Hartley; sound, Ed Novick; music , J.A.C. Redford.

Cast: Cast: Kathleen York, Viveka Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Melinda Dillon, Cari Shayne, Megan Ward, Nick Searcy, Joshua Schaefer, Chris Mulkey, Laura Morgan, Lisa Waltz, A.J. Langer, Elizabeth Moss, Dolly Parton, Mae Whitman, Rob Nilsson, David Purdham, Billy Vera, M.C. Gainey, Mary-Joan Negro, Paul Bartel, Jack Bender, Krystal Benn, Mark Boone Junior, Karlie and Kirstie Brown, Monte Byrum, Martin Davidson, Maxwell Gail, Gina Gallego, Trishalee Hardy, Buck Johnson, Robert Kerbeck, Jeanette Kerner, Piper Lincoln, Michael Marich, Larry Moss, Nic Roth, Jason Sanford, David Schickele, Jennifer Starr, Sebastian Tillinger, Sandee Van Dyke, voice of Ashley Judd.

More TV

  • Wendy Williams

    Wendy Williams Sets March 4 Return to Syndicated Talk Show

    After a six-week leave with health issues, Wendy Williams is set to return to her syndicated daytime talk show on March 4. Williams has been on leave from “The Wendy Williams Show” since Jan. 18 to deal with health issues including a fractured shoulders and complications from Graves disease, an immune system disorder which the [...]

  • Kelly Abcarian - Nielsen

    Nielsen Forms Addressable TV Ad Group After Buying Sorenson Media's Assets for $11.25 Million

    Nielsen thinks it has the pieces in place to finally drive up the scale of addressable TV advertising, targeted based on a television household’s profile the way internet ads have been served for years. The media-measurement firm has formed Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising, a new group focusing on developing addressable advertising initially for internet-connected smart [...]

  • Telefonica’s Movistar + Ups Pay TV

    Telefonica’s Movistar + Ups Spanish Pay TV Growth by 28% in 2018

    MADRID —  Telefonica, the European telecom which has made the largest bet on content over the last two years, saw a 6% year-in-year growth in pay TV customers in Spain, the country where that drive is most noticeable, Telefonica confirmed on a Thursday conference call, walking analysts through its full-year 2018 results. Net subscriber additions [...]

  • Name Of The Rose

    Germany's Tele München Group Sold to Investment Firm KKR

    Global investment firm KKR has acquired Tele München Group, one of Germany’s largest television businesses. The surprise deal was announced Thursday. New York-based global investor KKR has holdings in multiple sectors, including infrastructure, energy and real estate. Tele München Group, or TMG, is active in both production and distribution; its projects include the highly anticipated [...]

  • UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: Women, Minorities

    Hollywood Diversity Gains in TV but Falls Short in Movies

    Minorities and women have registered gains in several key areas of television but women continue to lag in movies, according to a report issued Thursday by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “My basic take is that TV is improving more for minorities and women than film,” said Dr. Darnell [...]

  • 60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes

    Lara Logan Says She's Been 'Targeted' for Her Claims of Liberal Media Bias

    Former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan appeared on “Hannity” Wednesday evening to expand on her recent remarks characterizing the media as “mostly liberal.” “It’s obvious, right, because you get targeted,” she said, explaining her earlier comments that she was committing “professional suicide” by criticizing the media. “It’s the same group of people, they’re already [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    'Empire' Producers Consider Suspending Jussie Smollett (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fox is considering removing Jussie Smollett from production on “Empire.” Sources close to the production told Variety that producers are weighing whether to suspend the actor after he was charged Wednesday in Chicago with filing a false police report. A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series, declined to comment. Smollett’s status on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content