An inspiring comedy series about affable football coach that leaves his midwest college team to coach a premiere league British football club isn’t a pitch that Hollywood has heard countless times.
This unique concept for Ted Lasso — developed by Emmy nominees Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Bill Lawrence — impressed executives at Apple TV+ as they were building their streaming slate.
Betting on the underdog football coach proved to be a wise move for the streaming newcomer. In a time where originality, witty writing, and constant optimism are rarely grouped together, Ted Lasso has stirred up a fervor which hasn’t been seen since the days of Stranger Things.
The soccer-centered-series enters this year’s Emmy awards as the most nominated freshman comedy series of all time, with a total of twenty nominations.
This includes nominations for series composers Marcus Mumford and Tom Howe (Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon), who are Emmy nominated for their Main Titles theme, “Heaven Knows I Tried.”
For Emmy nominee Marcus Mumford, his friendship with Ted Lasso star Jason Sudeikis goes back almost a decade. The Grammy winning singer/songwriter was performing at Saturday Night Live — with his band of Mumford & Sons — when their paths first crossed.
The budding friendship grew over the years, with Mumford enlisting Sudeikis along with fellow stars Jason Bateman, Will Forte, and Ed Helms for his band’s music video, “Hopeless Wanderer.”
When it came time to create the sound for Ted Lasso, Sudeikis reached out to Mumford directly and surprisingly got crickets. “I’d received a message from Jason on my US phone, which I turn off when I’m in the U.K.,” Mumford shares. “So I hadn’t heard his request properly (to write music for the show), but we had talked Ted Lasso over the years because I loved the bits he did for NBC Sports Premiere League coverage.”
When Mumford finally got the message, he quickly gave a resounding yes to joining the project. The earliest creative conversation between Sudeikis and Mumford revolved around Ted Lasso’s incredible roaster of characters. “Jason very humbly admitted to not having the vocabulary to talk composing, so we talked in emotional terms which was actually very helpful,” shares Mumford.
When Emmy nominee Tom Howe joined the project, he and Mumford used Sudeikis’ notes as the launching point. “When Tom joined the project, it was very early on and we started fleshing out the instrumental ideas.”
Mumford invited Howe over to his studio in the Southwest of England, where they dove into the main titles as a way of defining the series’ sound. “Often, the main title theme is the last thing you do in a panic,” shares Howe. “I was with him for ten days and we didn’t have footage at that point. But we had Marcus’ conversation with Jason and we built from there.”
Howe recalls that the main theme coalesced quickly, establishing the DNA for the rest of the series. “I remember insisting on double bass,” Mumford recalls. “I’m not sure we used loads of that, but getting our friend Rueben James to lay down some piano that we used, a lot of great improvisation.”
The conversation with the songwriting and composing duo moved onto the score for season one, including incredible insight into the heartwarming darts competition monolog, the daunting task of handling Roy Kent’s closing moments injury, and how the sound palliate has evolved for season two, currently streaming on Apple TV+
For voters, the Ted Lasso main title theme, “Heaven Knows I Tried,” is currently available here.
We encourage everyone to check out the full panel conversation, brought to you by The Hollywood Music and Media Academy, Apple TV+, and Awards Focus.