MTV gets Caribbean for network launch

MTV has rounded up some of the biggest names in hip-hop and Caribbean music to support the November 21 launch of its new Tempo network with a series of concerts in Caribbean markets.

The network will debut in some 500,000 households in 20 markets across the region, reaching an estimated 2.5 million viewers. MTV says it plans to bring the network to the US in 2006.

It will broadcast a mix of original and acquired Caribbean programming, including music, movies, specials, and sports.

In conjunction with the Nov. 21 launch of a new cable television network devoted to Caribbean music and culture, MTV Networks will host Caribbean Rising, a series of concerts featuring performances from more than 80 artists across genres such as reggae, dancehall, reggaeton, hip-hop, and calypso.

The first set of concerts will take place October 15-16 in Jamaica, with hip-hopper The Game and soul crooner Musiq Soulchild, both US stars of Jamaican descent, along with reggae stars Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Barrington Levy, Bounty Killa, and Elephant Man.

The series then moves to Barbados, where Rihanna will perform, and then on to St. Maarten, St. Croix, and Nevis, where Wyclef Jean and Angie Stone will play. The final concert will be held November 5 in Trinidad and Tobago.

"We are thrilled to be celebrating Tempo's debut with some of the best musicians from the region and around the world," Frederick Morton, senior vice president of MTV Networks, said in a statement. "The response from artists has been incredible, and they're excited about the opportunity to reach their audiences through this platform."

Tempo joins Viacom's roster of cable networks, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, and Spike TV.

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