‘$5 Cover’: MTV’s new media and music franchise

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via LA Times

If there is one thing that every studio, network and cable channel has in common these days, it’s that they are all frantically obsessed with finding the Next Hot New Thing — i.e. a compelling pop culture concept or phenomenon that will spawn a new hit franchise. (You know, to line up on the runway as the cobwebby old franchises start to wear thin.) Though there are obvious exceptions — like Universal’s “Bourne” series — most franchises end up feeling like they are far more about commerce than art, whether it’s the slimy horror series (“Saw”), the heist series (“Ocean’s Eleven” and its sequels) or the comic-book visual effects series (“Fantastic Four”), not to mention all of TV’s endless “CSI” and “Law & Order” permutations.

But what would happen if you put the franchise reins in the hands of an indie filmmaker, gave him creative control over its content and launch, anchored it in a city’s vibrant underground music scene and turned it into a new media series that would play on multiple platforms, on screens small, smaller and hand-held tiny?

What you’d have would look a lot like “$5 Cover,” a new MTV series that captures the funky groove of the local Memphis music scene but with real musicians in virtually all the acting roles, all orchestrated by filmmaker Craig Brewer, writer-director of “Hustle & Flow,” the 2005 indie hit set in the colorful gumbo-like environs of Memphis. Continue reading