By Bel Hernandez
Philadelphia, PA – February 21, 2012 – Comcast made a major announcement today that has been a long time coming. Comcast has selected four networks, two headed by American Latinos with English programming and two by African-Americans. Legendary Hollywood filmmaker Robert Rodriguez heads the El Rey Network, one of the four selected out of over 100 proposals, to be broadly distributed on Comcast Cable systems between April 2012 and January 2014.
Rodriguez, who already heads Troublemaker Studios will now add TV mogul to his growing list of credits. Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa proposed the El Rey Network which is designed to be an action-packed, general entertainment network in English for Latino and general audiences that includes a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy, and sports programming. The El Rey network will include programming that features Latino producers, celebrities and public figures. The network has entered into an agreement to launch by January 2014.
“This partnership with Comcast signals an important moment for the Latino community in this country – we are passionate about creating a wildly entertaining destination that we can be proud of by appealing to both Latino and mass market audiences,” said Robert Rodriguez and CEO of FactoryMade Ventures John Fogelman. “We engineered El Rey to address a burgeoning opportunity to deliver unique, high-quality and compelling content to a hard-to-reach demographic and are excited to bring more opportunities to generations of talent, storytellers and dreamers through this special partnership.”
The other Latino themed network, BabyFirst Americas, will target the burgeoning Latino baby boom in he U.S. Headed by Spanish language television veteran Constantino “Said” Schwarz; this network is designed for infants, very young children, and their parents, and emphasizes the importance of early development of verbal, math and motor skills. The network has entered into an agreement to launch by April 2012.
“We are thrilled to partner with Comcast and commend them for recognizing the importance of quality education for young children,” remarked Constantino “Said” Schwarz, CEO and Chairman BabyFirst Americas. “BabyFirst Americas aims to bring the essential academic building blocks for Kindergarten readiness into the home, making it accessible for families all across the U.S.”
The two African American Networks are Aspire, spearheaded by Entrepreneur and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in partnership with GMC TV. Aspire will celebrate the successes, achievements and accomplishments of the African-American community and create new opportunities for the next generation of African-American visionaries. The network will launch by summer 2012.
The Revolt network will be spearheaded by Sean “Diddy” Combs and MTV veteran Andy Schuon, this network is designed to have programming inspired by music and pop culture, including music videos, live performances, music news, and interviews and will incorporate social media interaction for music artists and fans. The network has entered into an agreement to launch in 2013.
These first first initial networks announced are part of the 10 networks slated by Comcast that will ultimately be added on select Comcast systems as part of the digital basic tier of service
“We are thrilled to work with such talented individuals to launch these new networks that will bring exciting and fresh content to consumers,” said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation. “Comcast is committed to delivering programming that reflects the interests of our customers, and we look forward to integrating these great networks into our rich programming line-up.”
El Rey is a network that is perfectly position to address the growing need of the largest sector of English-speaking American Latinos who are first, second and third generation, who are not watching Spanish language networks yet have strong cultural ties and would like to see themselves reflected. “I definitely feel a need for an English-language network with shows that will speak more directly to me and deal with topics and issues that are important to me,” said Clinical Psychologist Espie Canez, PhD. “ I haven’t watched Spanish language TV since I was an adolescent.”