Univision Communications Inc. today announced it has made a strategic investment in El Rey Network, the new general entertainment, English-language cable network geared towards young-adult audiences and created by renowned American filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures. The network will launch in December 2013 and have nation-wide distribution with initial carriage via Comcast.
Chairman Robert Rodriguez -- who has been named one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Hispanics and has directed films such as Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn, The Faculty, Spy Kids, Machete and Sin City -- unveiled the plans for the new network and showcased one of its slated programs today at Univision's 2013 Upfront presentation in New York.
As the lead curators of content for El Rey Network, Rodriguez and FactoryMade will cultivate a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, music and sports programming. El Rey Network will provide English-language programming and will include action content that boldly features -- or is created, produced or directed by - high-caliber talent, celebrities and public figures. Univision Communications will be responsible for the back office operations, sales and distribution of the network. Financial details for the agreement were not disclosed.
"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 resource for all Hispanics tastes and preferences. As we continue to grow, evolve and expand into new frontiers, Univision remains the one and only gateway to U.S. Hispanic audiences," said Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc. "We are pleased to partner with Robert, FactoryMade and the teams at El Rey Network to launch a new network to serve one of the most influential, rapidly growing audiences in America - young Hispanics. Today at our upfront, we spoke about Univision's unparalleled brand connection and showcased our world-class content offerings across our multiplatform portfolio, as well as our firm commitment to providing Latinos with the best in-culture programming available."
"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," said Rodriguez. "El Rey Network will serve as a launching pad to satisfy the tastes of young adults looking for exciting, cinematic, action-packed content. As a broadcast leader in media, Univision is the best partner to support us in achieving this vision."
Added FactoryMade CEO John Fogelman and co-CEO Cristina Patwa: Univision's investment in the network is a ringing endorsement of the strength of El Rey Network's strategy and its potential not just through television, but also through social and mobile platforms. El Rey will offer a slate of visionary talent, adventurous stories and iconic characters that will entertain, engage and relate to younger audiences.
At Univision's upfront presentation, Rodriguez unveiled the first original scripted production for El Rey Network. Based on the hit action/horror franchise from Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, From Dusk Till Dawn, the series will be written, produced and directed by Rodriguez. It will explore and expand on the characters and story from the original film, providing a wider scope and richer Aztec mythology.
In addition, Rodriguez announced that K/O Paper Products, the television and film production company founded by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, will produce a scripted, action adventure series for El Rey Network, which will start development at the end of June. Kurtzman and Orci are the writers and producers of blockbuster movies such as Star Trek, Transformers and Sleepy Hollow as well as broadcast shows such as Fringe and Hawaii Five-O. The duo plans to announce a showrunner later this summer.
"Robert, Alex and Roberto exemplify the types of show creators that will ultimately set El Rey Network apart. We are honored to pave the way for their unprecedented debut into cable," said the network's Vice Chairman Scott Sassa.
The two original scripted shows are being developed as a part of the network's co-financing pact with Reliance-backed television studio Georgeville Television and will be produced in Austin, Texas, home of Rodriguez' 26-acre studio facilities. Georgeville, founded by Motion Picture Capital and Reliance, will be co-producing scripted programming for El Rey in a $250 million deal announced two months ago.
"As an independent studio, we were already thrilled to partner with El Rey Network on these series -- we have been receiving tremendous interest in these shows internationally on multiple windows, given the filmmaker-driven stature and high-quality content of the series selection. El Rey's partnership with Univision only strengthens our combined ability to bring more A-list content to a wider audience," said Georgeville Television founders Marc Rosen and Leon Clarance.