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Just last year filmmaker Robert Rodriguez was announcing the launch of his new production company, Quick Draw, and this year he’s got an even bigger project on his hands, his own TV network.
That’s right, a TV network. The deal is part of Comcast’s commitment to expand programs for Spanish-speaking viewers. Others granted a network include Constantino Schwarz, Sean Combs and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Comcast said it made its selections after reviewing more than 100 proposals. The goal is to launch 10 new independent channels over the next eight years, eight of which will be African American or Latino owned and/or operated. The first Hispanic channel will launch by this time next year with the two African American-owned networks launching by the end of January 2013.
Rodriguez’s network will be called El Rey and will launch sometime in 2014. It will be a joint venture between Rodriguez and John Fogelman and Cristina Patway from FactoryMade Ventures. The English language channel will be geared towards second and third generation Hispanics. The network is describe as a cross between Spike TV and Comedy Central. The net’s new production company, Tres Pistoleros, will develop programming for the channel that is being envisioned as “an action-packed, general entertainment network in English for Latino and general audiences” with a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, music, comedy and sports.
Rodriguez ‘s work spans from edgy, violent films like From Dusk Till Dawn, Desperado and Sin City to the family-friendly Spy Kids franchise. He’s known for pushing the envelope and being one the first working directors in Hollywood to cast Hispanic actors in lead roles, like Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek.
“This is the right time to create something new that has cultural significance and can reach the U.S. Latino audience that is really booming,” said Rodriguez to the LA Times. “[Young, U.S.-born Latinos] are an under-served market, and Comcast really responded to our pitch. They want to make this work.”
“With these new networks, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to independent programming with diverse voices, management, and ownership. This builds on our strong, ongoing record of corporate diversity,” said David L. Cohen, Comcast’s Executive Vice President, in Diversity in a statement.
According to Fox News Latino, Fogelman, CEO of FactoryMade Ventures and former agent and board member of William Morris Endeavor, said they spent a lot of time researching Census data before developing the proposal for El Rey.
It’s projected by the U.S. Census that Hispanic population in the U.S. will increase from 47.8 million to 59.7 million by 2020 and 73.0 million by 2030.
In terms of reaching this growing population, Fogelman believes cable is the best vehicle.
“Cable is still the megaphone. From our perspective there is going to be a lot of experimenting…it’s pretty difficult to compete with the cable reach and were confident that we are going to give people something really exciting to watch,” said Fogelman to Bloomberg.
But Comcast isn’t the only one aggressively trying to reach the Hispanic market. Univision and ABC recently announced their joint plans to launch a cable news network also targeting the U.S. Latino population.
Will you be watching Rodriguez’s network, El Rey?
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