Understatement of the week: Johnny Hustle is excited about "Friday Night Flows."
The Baton Rouge rapper exclaimed, "I got my own TV show, Mama!" three times during the first 90 seconds of the new local music/entertainment/culture show's premiere Jan. 8. Pumped up by viewer response, budding host Hustle is back for more this week on the Friday night Madd Game Entertainment series airing at 10 p.m. on WBTR, Channel 36 (cable Channel 19).
"It started out slow, to me," the 37-year-old Hustle said of the show's early stages. "I guess when a lot of people saw that we were going forward with it … and the love and the sharing and the reposts that we had. I got people that I was trying to work with at one point in music — they are actually hitting me up, saying 'I want to get on the TV show.' Seriously. I'm happy."
Hustle teased that in Friday night's half-hour episode, he sits down with "one of the hottest young artists from Baton Rouge," the rapper known as Eatem. Add in some new videos from local music artists and a sports segment with J.K. Lee.
"J.K.'s covering the Battle on the Bluff basketball tournament last week at Southern with U-High, McKinley, Scotlandville, Southern Lab, some heavy hitters," Hustle said.
Thirty-six-year-old Lee is also a TV show newbie, but no stranger to the sports world.
"I've been around sports my whole life. I played ball in college. I grew up playing every sport," Lee said.
Switching gears from athlete to reporter took some time, he said.
"I had to get adjusted to it first, but now it's coming like second nature," Lee said. "It's something to feed my competitive spirit. Since I'm not able to play anymore, being able to cover sports still fuels that fire."
Incorporating sports into "Friday Night Flows with Johnny Hustle" was logical, executive producer Terrance Turner explained, since high school sports are so big on Friday nights.
The new series is the fifth show for local production company Madd Game, which operates from studios at 1713 Wooddale Blvd.
"But Johnny does a lot on location, too," Turner, said, interviewing artists in their own spaces.
"A lot of people have shared it (last week's show)," Turner, also 37, said. "A lot of people have flooded Johnny's inbox about how they really enjoyed the show, about how they appreciate that he's highlighting different artists that may not get a light shined on them."
The show's first season offers 13 episodes, which are also available on Madd Game Entertainment's YouTube channel, MGE Network, after airing.
Starting a new local series during the COVID-19 pandemic didn't deter Turner.
"The pandemic will actually probably help it with viewership, because with there not being a lot of things to do on the outside as far as with restrictions, more people are kind of having to watch TV or entertain themselves," Turner said. "Even if you look at the numbers for Netflix, you know, when the pandemic first hit, everyone was watching 'Tiger King.'"
Other "Flow" producers are Alexander Scott and Karna Granville, along with assistant director and production coordinator K.C. Byrd.
'Friday Night Flows with Johnny Hustle'
10 p.m. Friday
WBTR, Channel 36 (cable Channel 19)