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MTV Heads to the Dirty South to Uncover Who Is Heating Up the Memphis Music Scene in ’$5 Cover’


NEW YORK.- MTV New Media teams up with “Hustle & Flow” director Craig Brewer to bring viewers an online music drama series dedicated to the Memphis music scene

From Elvis Presley and Isaac Hayes to Three 6 Mafia and Justin Timberlake, Memphis has a long history of nurturing diverse musical acts. MTV New Media, a division of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) is set to explore the modern-day incarnation of Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary music scene with a groundbreaking, music-driven episodic series created by “Hustle & Flow” director and Memphis-based filmmaker Craig Brewer. The series, “$5 Cover,” glimpses into the lives of young modern-day artists working to make their mark on the storied musical landscape those legends created -- all the while creating drama of their own over 15 digital episodes as they fight for love, inspiration and rent money.

Set in the clubs, all-nite cafes, no-tell motels and woolly neighborhoods of present-day Memphis, the series is about music discovery and raw content. The characters play themselves and perform their own music, with each episode incorporating an exciting performance or recording session. “$5 Cover” allows viewers to follow authentic characters as they hustle to hone their craft and survive the heat of the South. “$5 Cover” will be available on multiple screens, including online at, mobile and gaming devices and MP3 players.

“’$5 Cover’ allows a talented filmmaker like Craig to use technologies that change the way audiences consume and engage in content,” said David Gale, Executive Vice President of MTV New Media, who previously ran MTV Films for its first 11 years, where he oversaw the release of “Hustle and Flow.” “Rather than using all the new screens as simply additional distribution platforms, we are building an entirely new interactive experience that makes connections between the audience and content more meaningful.”

More than an introduction to underground artists, “$5 Cover” gives viewers a behind the scenes look at what’s heating up Memphis. Viewers can take a virtual tour of the local music scene, explore some of the cast’s favorite hangouts, and get an inside look at Memphis hotspots. Additionally, MTV will share social networking applications and other digital tools with fans to build anticipation in between episodes and stoke their excitement for new content. MySpace and Facebook widgets created for “$5 Cover” will continuously feed related content, including exclusive music performances, video blogs and video tours of popular Memphis juke joints.

“Content is now a click away and distribution platforms can fit in the palm of your hand. Everyone in entertainment is trying to figure out what to make for the online ’snacking’ culture and how to craft a successful business model,” said Brewer. “I think the best any filmmaker or producer can do in this new medium is embrace a frontier spirit, charge in head first, and celebrate what you love. For me it’s always been Memphis music and musicians. And now people from around the world, at any time of the day, on a multitude of devices, will be able to click and snack in my own backyard with some of the coolest cats this side of the Mississippi River.”

Memphis has been home to deep cultural exchanges as well as painful culture clashes, but the birthplace of the blues, gospel and rock ’n’ roll has always been a town with a thriving music scene, where people from every walk of life embrace every genre of music. “$5 Cover” is a uniquely rich experience for viewers and tells a compelling untold story of struggle and ambition.

Meet the Cast

These are the artists and stories that make up the heart and soul of “$5 Cover”:

Amy LaVere as Amy -- Rock/Indie/Americana

Southern songstress whose petite frame is smaller than the stand up bass she plays. Sassy and talented, her voice is innocent and bewitching. She is ambitious, but when she gets romantically involved with band mates, her expectations fall short, creating yet another sad song.

Clare Grant -- Actress/Former Playboy “Babe of the Month”

She is the garage-band poster girl -- the drinking, dancing muse of all the rockers in Memphis. When Clare can’t find love she goes to extremes. She has been known to party too hard and go home with the guys in the band, putting her friendships in jeopardy.

Ben Nichols as Ben -- Rock/Southern Rock

Sexy as hell bad boy, and front man of Lucero. Ben is an old flame of Clare’s (amongst many others). He is constantly touring with his band, but is in town long enough to turn Clare’s world upside down. The kind of guy you wouldn’t bring home to mom, covered in tattoos, all the women swoon over him.

Al Kapone -- Rap/Crunk

Al is one of the originators of the Memphis underground rap explosion and a pioneer of the Dirty South Crunk/Buck style of Hip-Hop. He is a true performer and loves to work an audience. He mentors his son AJ, on the music game and records his flow between delivery jobs.

Kate Crowder of Two Way Radio -- Indie Pop

Sweet and sincere, Kate is a mother and musician. Her voice is angelic and evokes a world filled with cotton candy, bubblegum and carnivals. Her lyrics, sometimes deep, are all about love.

Muck Sticky -- Rap/Comedy/Alternative

He is known as Muck, Muck Sticky, the Sticky Muck, or the Nifty Mervous Thrifty. He is a tireless self-promoter and sincere ambassador of peace, friendship and personal empowerment. Muck has a crush on Kate but is unable to express his feelings for her.

Brad Postlethwaite as Brad -- Indie/Pop

Slender with glasses and a beard, Brad is a musical genius; he seems to play with everyone in town and fronts a band called Snowglobe. Brad is dependable and knows his way around Packy’s studio.

Valerie June -- Folk/Rock

Valerie is a singer-songwriter, whose mysterious, melodic voice and eclectic, neo-hippie style transcends her down home southern charm and wholesome beauty. She lives in the same house as Amy, Clare and Wally and works at the local coffee bar, Java Cabana.

Alicja Trout as Alicja -- Garage/Punk/Rock

Rock star and mother, Alicja is a bad ass, punk rock musical powerhouse and the subject of one of Wally’s many documentaries. She demands everyone’s attention when she is rocking out with her band River City Tanlines.

Harlan T Bobo -- Rock/Indie

Harlan T Bobo’s ironic, tortured lamentations have established him as one of Memphis’s top singer-songwriters. At once humorous and sincere, Bobo’s voice is much the soundtrack for a packed Saturday-night show as it is the Sunday-morning hangover that follows -- a love-weary, public diary of romance and loss.

Jack Oblivian of Jack O and the Tennessee Tearjerkers -- Rock/Indie

The patron saint of many a Memphis musician, Jack “Oblivian” Yarber has spread his hard-driving punk rock anthems around the world with disaffected charm. When he’s home, the city’s musicians come together for his shows -- both as fans and as students.

“$5 Cover” was created by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan). Van Toffler, (President, MTV Networks Music & Logo Group), and David Gale, (EVP, MTV New Media) will Executive Produce. Scott Bomar, Erin Hagee, and David Harris will serve as producers, along with Jen Ringel as co-producer.

The format of the “$5 Cover” series allows for the experience to be developed in other cities around the country and the globe, exploring music and culture from the point of view of filmmakers who are as knowledgeable and passionate about their local scenes as Craig is about Memphis.

The William Morris Agency brokered the deal on behalf of Craig Brewer. Brewer is managed by Brad Gross and is represented by attorney Carlos Goodman of Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette & Feldman, LLP.


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