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MEMPHIS BEAT on TNT Starring Jason Lee and Music by Keb’ Mo’

Blues Music, Southern Charm and Crime Make a Soulful Blend in TNT’s New Drama Series MEMPHIS BEAT, Starring Jason Lee set to premiere Tuesday, June 22, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)

There’s a new sound coming to TNT this summer.  It’s the bluesy, guitar-laced sound of MEMPHIS BEAT, TNT’s soulful original series about a Memphis police detective starring Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl) and Alfre Woodard (Three Rivers) and co-starring DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow). The drama series is produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures and Warner Horizon Television and is slated to premiereTuesday, June 22, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT).

The show centers on Dwight Hendricks (Lee), a quirky Memphis police detective with an intimate connection to the city, a passion for blues music and a close relationship with his mother.  He is “the keeper of Memphis,” a Southern gentleman who is protective of his fellow citizens, reverential of the city’s history and deeply rooted in its blues music scene.

Despite his impeccable instincts as a detective, Dwight’s loose, relaxed style of police work rubs his demanding new boss, Lt. Tanya Rice (Woodard), the wrong way.  But Dwight may eventually win her over to a Memphisstate of mind, especially when he takes the stage at his favorite hangout to perform a legendary song or two.

MEMPHIS BEAT co-stars DJ Qualls as Davey Sutton, a uniform cop who considers himself to be Dwight’s protégé.  Also starring are Celia Weston (Junebug) as Dwight’s effervescent mother; Sam Hennings (Saving Grace) as Charlie White, aka Whitehead, Dwight’s seasoned, hypertensive partner; Leonard Earl Howze(Barbershop) as Reginald Greenback, a fellow detective struggling to make ends meet with two teenage daughters; and Abraham Benrubi (ER) as Sgt. JC Lightfoot, an officer who uses Chickasaw tribal wisdom in his police work.

MEMPHIS BEAT was created by Liz W. Garcia (Cold Case) and Joshua Harto (The Dark Knight), who also wrote the first two episodes.  Harto, who grew up in the South and has spent a lot of time with his country-musician grandfather, sees the show’s setting as a chance to spotlight one of America’s great cities.  “Memphis has been largely forgotten in film and TV today,” he says.  “It’s where the blues and Johnny Cash and Elvis came from. It’s where Martin Luther King was assassinated and where Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin were born and raised.  It’s the perfect blend of drama and humor for our show.”

Music is just as vital to MEMPHIS BEAT as its unique characters, drama and humor.  “Music is a huge part of this show,” Garcia says.  “It has to be.  You can’t live in Memphis and not have your life steeped in music.  The city has a soundtrack.”

To get that perfect Memphis feel, the production team approached noted blues singer/songwriter Keb’ Mo’.  He will provide original compositions and performances for the show to supplement classic Memphis tracks.

MEMPHIS BEAT is executive-produced by Clooney, Heslov, Garcia, Harto, John Fortenberry (It’s Always Sunny inPhiladelphia) and Scott Kaufer (Boston Legal).  Sean Whitesell (House M.D.) and Smokehouse Pictures’ Abby Wolf-Weiss are co-executive producers.  The pilot was directed and executive-produced by Emmy® nomineeClark Johnson (The Shield).  Harto and Garcia are a husband-and-wife team.  Harto is also an actor.

Warner Horizon Television is one of the entertainment industry’s fastest-growing television companies, specializing in the creation of scripted series for the cable marketplace, and primetime reality series for both network and cable.  Founded in 2006, this second production entity allows the Warner Bros. Television Group to expand its programming offerings and explore creative options made possible under a new business model. WHTV is producing more than a dozen series for broadcast and cable networks in 2009-2010.

Smokehouse Pictures was formed in 2006 by George Clooney and Grant Heslov.  Clooney and Heslov co-wrote the critically acclaimed 2004 film Good Night, and Good Luck., which earned six Academy Award® nominations including Best Original Screenplay, as well as a Best Director nomination for Clooney and a Best Picture nomination for Heslov.  Heslov and Clooney also produced K-Street and Unscripted, both for HBO.  Under their Smokehouse shingle, Clooney and Heslov produced the feature films Leatherheads, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and forthcoming film The American, which will be released in fall 2010.

TNT, one of cable’s top-rated networks, is television’s destination for drama and home to such original series as the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Men of a Certain Age, with Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula; Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter; HawthoRNe, with Jada Pinkett Smith; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Dark Blue, starring Dylan McDermott; the upcomingRizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander; Memphis Beat, with Jason Lee; and Southland, from Emmy®-winning producer John Wells (ER).  TNT also presents such powerful dramas as BonesSupernatural,Las VegasLaw & OrderCSI: NYCold Case and Numb3rs; broadcast premiere movies; compelling primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA.  TNT is available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

For more information, visit online at



  1. Joe Morris

    August 6, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Does Jason Lee do his own singing on the show ? If so, is there a CD available in which Jason sings the blues and elvis songs shown on T.V. ? If there is a CD available, where would I find it ?


    Joe Morri

  2. Danni Armstrong

    August 10, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I don’t know either, but if you get a response could you please email it to me at


  3. Marcia Dempsey

    August 21, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I’m looking for the same thing – a cd with the great music from Memphis Beat! No sign of it anywhere yet that I can find. Maybe they will release a cd after this first season ends, hopefully. They should really promote it on their site.

  4. Dawn McAdams

    August 24, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    EVERYBODY is looking for this CD! Let’s get going on pleasing your public Warner, Clooney, et al.
    How hard can it be? You guys will make a mint.

  5. Susan

    August 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I want more information about purchasing a Jason Lee CD.

  6. Diane

    August 25, 2010 at 9:39 pm


  7. Margot

    August 26, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I just love the original performances on Memphis Beat! Last week when Jason Lee “sang” the old Elvis classic, “Dont Be Cruel”, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. PULEEZZE make a CD of these great songs for us! Waiting in Washington….

  8. Becca

    August 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I want one too. Elvis was good, but I love what Jason Lee had done with this music, it’s just a little bit softer and much nicer to listen to. I love the story lines, but watch the show for the music. I wasn’t a fan of “Earl” but love Memphis Beat!

  9. Jim

    August 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I and at least 4 people I know would like a CD with Jason Lee and the songs/soundtracks of Memphis Beat


  10. sherri

    August 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I absolutely loooove Memphis Beat and Jason Lee! But wonder when they will put out a CD of the music from the show??? One of the reasons I watch is for all the music played and Jason singing at the end of each episode!! PLEASE put out a CD!!!

  11. Rie

    August 28, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Alright we all want a CD of all Jason Lee’s songs he’s sang on Memphis Beat. I’ve always been an Elvis fan, Have most of his Albums, all the way back to King Creo. But I love the way Jason sings the Blues. So I have to say has Clooney dropped the ball on this one. The sound tracks should already be out and announced after the show like they do after the NCIS shows. What are they waiting for.

  12. Melissa McCain

    August 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I, too, would love to purchase a CD from the show. I looked on Amazon and didn’t find anything. Please let me know where I could buy one.


  13. Cat Fry

    August 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    You can download 20 songs from the series at iTunes, but I don’t see that Jason Lee sings any of them. It looks like the originals……I’d like the versions from the TV series.

  14. SD

    August 29, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Would love a soundtrack from Memphis Beat – all the shows for the season. Where and when can I get one?

  15. Carole Perry

    August 30, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I understand it is not Jason Lee doing the singing – you’ve fooled everyone watching so objective accomplished! What I still want – NEED TO HAVE, REALLY!!! – is the music of Memphis Beat. The old traditional blues songs are great, and I intend to get everyone of them, but the ones we want are the ones being performed during the show. Please, please give us more Memphis Beat, and give us a way to acquire the original performances on the show.

  16. dj

    September 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I as well am in love !! with the music on the show. Hopefully, public opinion will result in a CD after the season. I surely hope so.

  17. billie

    September 5, 2010 at 10:16 am

    It’s not Jason Lee singing but Mark Arnell from i94. Great band!

  18. Janet

    December 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    It’s December and I just checked iTunes to see if they had anything with the songs sung by Mark Arnell on Memphis Beat. Nothing that I could find. I recorded “I Wanna Be Free” off the show onto my iPhone before I erased it from our DVR last season. That’s the only copy I have. I would definitely buy a CD with all those songs on it. Glad to read that the show will be on again next year. I really liked & always watched “Earl”, but I like Jason Lee as his new character in this series much better.

  19. Sandy Sue Simons

    February 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    My husband and I would really like a CD of all these wonderful songs from Memphis Beat. I want to give my husband one for Valentines Day 2011. But can’t find it anywhere. Please, Please, make a CD and get it out right away. We really want to buy one.

  20. jean

    June 14, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    i reay want jason lee singing i want to be free. He does it better then the king

  21. Terri

    June 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I can not believe that they have not done a CD of Jason’s Music. I alway look forward to the Music on the show of Memphis Blues. Where can we find this music. I would love to buy the music from this show….

  22. cathie

    June 29, 2011 at 6:38 am

    I need to know how to purchase jason’s music?

  23. Dawn

    June 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    To all you people out there who can’t seem to use Google to get answers:
    Jason Lee does NOT sing the songs on Memphis Beat. It is a blues artist by the name of Keb Mo. He is a three-time grammy winner and has a web site. Check it out. Get the music you want. He has a new CD coming out in Aug. 2011

  24. Eric

    July 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Yes, Keb Mo sings the songs, but Jason Lee has become pretty darn good at lip syncing. Keb Mo has a website but there is no CD of music from the show there or anywhere else. You can download Season 1 music it from bitTorrent for a small fee.

  25. Dawn

    July 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    @ Eric: Yes, Jason Lee is VERY good at the lip sync thing. I would never have known the difference if I had not stumbled onto this website. In fact the only time I have noticed anything in that vein is the last aired episode. The singing voice is just not Lee’s. The tone, timbre, or something is off, but he is still good at “acting” a song. We can all tell how popular the music is with the fans of Memphis Beat by the increase in music used each week. It’s GREAT!

  26. Anthony Cuesta

    July 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Jason Lee does an incredible job melding himself into the singing of Dwight Hendricks, so good in fact that to call it lip syncing seems an insult. I know now that Mark Arnell is the voice, but I still don’t truly believe it. That’s how good the voice and the actor match. Seriously, I listened to Arnell and foolishly thought, “Yeah, it kinda sounds like Hendricks, but not really.” It takes a lot of guts on Lee’s part to do that good of a job and then deep down know you are just acting it out (again I hesitate to say lip sync), but then again he is an actor and he is getting paid the big bucks to do it. Arnell also gets a ton of kudos to remain quiet as viewers misappropriate their ardor to Lee. I searched for a collection of the Memphis Beat songs sung by Arnell and as everyone else has complained, “There is none.” I sampled Arnell and his band I94 to find their sound is good but not the good that I am trying to find, a la the Memphis Beat sound. No hard feelings, Mark. It must be tough to create a sound for a side project and then find it has grown bigger your true persona. This is a case of the avatar getting bigger than its creator. There is probably some contractual issue with the show, and maybe even some begrudging by Arnell to stay to true to himself and his bandmates, that is the reason there is no collection of “Arnell sings as Hendricks” songs. If I am right, I understand the reluctance but still appreciate the craft that makes this alluring finished product so coveted.

  27. Shelley

    July 26, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Jason Lee is awesome! L

  28. Shelley

    July 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Jason Lee is awesome! Love the music – whoever it is – I want it

  29. Dawn

    July 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Did you see last night’s episode? Keb Mo on stage alongside Jason! It was AMAZING!!

  30. sara lopiccolo

    December 9, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Please release the soundtracks to this wonderful show. I know so many people who would love this cd! Not just the Jason Lee parts but the Keb Mo and all the other winderful songs. Please thia show has been on long enough to put out a sound track and trust me you would sale a lot! Any info is greatlt appreciated! Take Care Sara

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