El Rey Network, Where Content “Es Rey”
By Bel Hernandez
Austin, TX — Coming on December 2013 is the long awaited launch of the Robert Rodriguez/FactoryMade Venture cable network El Rey Network. Originally geared towards English-speaking Latinos, the powers that be decided that they would widen their target market to include all millennials.
El Rey was one of the minority-owned networks that were guaranteed a national carriage deal on Comcast Corp. as part of the FCC’s conditions for approving the 2011 buyout of NBCUniversal. Earlier this year Univision announced they had made a strategic investment in the newbie cabler.
Initially, programming for El Rey will consist of a mix of reality, scripted action and animated series, movies, music and sports programming, with the first original series for the network announced last week, From Dusk Til Dawn The Series. Acquired programming it is said to include a slate of movies and TV shows selected by Rodriguez.
Rodriguez originally directed the From Dusk Til Dawn The Series adaptation of the 1996 cult film by the same name. The TV series is currently shooting in Rodriguez’s hometown of Austin, TX, and is expected to debut next month when the network launches.
Back in August of this year, when the Univision partnership was revealed, Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc. stated, “Our partnership in El Rey Network is a testament to Univision’s culture of innovation, the power of our brand to live in both languages, and our constant quest to ensure we remain the ultimate for all Hispanics’ tastes and preferences,” a bold statement coming from a network which less than ten years ago, were still denying U.S. Latinos watch English-Language TV.
For his part Rodriguez was enthusiastic about the possibilities and partnerships involved in El Rey Network. At the Univision upfronts earlier this year he told the audience, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Univision on this groundbreaking initiative to deliver high-quality original programming to our community and the wider, mainstream audiences. El Rey Network will serve as a launching pad to satisfy the tastes of young adults looking for exciting, cinematic, action-packed content.”
In addition to the production of its From Dusk Til Dawn The Series, El Rey has a co-financing deal with Georgeville Television for two other original scripted shows, still un-announced. Although, we know that Georgeville currently has four TV series in various stages of production, one in particular The After, a survival story about eight strangers written and directed by Emmy-nominee Chris Carter (The X-Files), sounds ready made for El Rey’s target audience. It also has several Latino actors attached. Georgeville, is said to be co-producing scripted programming for El Rey to the tune of a $250 million deal.
Also bringing their production muscle to the network is K/O Paper Products, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s production company (Fringe, Hawaii Five-O, Sleepy Hollow). They are said to be on board to produce a scripted, action adventure series for the network.
FactoryMade welcomed the Univision’s investment which they know will only strengthen El Rey’s strategy and potential by helping bring programming with visionary talent, adventurous stories and iconic characters to the small screen that is relatable to their young audience.