Photo by Philippa Willitts via Flickr Creative Commons
A new edgy cable network called El Rey is launching in January of 2014.
El Rey is the brainchild of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, whose hits include "Desperado," "The Faculty," and the "Spy Kids" franchise. Rodriguez is a fifth-generation Mexican American, and El Rey is one of the minority-owned networks Comcast agreed to distribute as part of its merger with NBC Universal.
Inez Gonzalez, director of the Latino Communications Initiative at Cal State Fullerton, said young Latinos are hungry for more English-language programming, but Rodriguez is smartly targeting more than just them.
"That is a population that already follows him, but he is attracting young Americans, the mass audience, and I think he’s very successful at doing that," Gonzalez said.
On the El Rey web site, Rodriguez mentions that he’s curating "fearless" content for a diverse audience – including a Latino James Bond series.
"A lot of the country doesn’t see themselves in an exciting, iconic, positive way," Rodriguez said. "This blank space exists because no one has just done it. No one has done it first. So we’re doing it."
El Rey says its target audience is men age 18-49. In a promotional trailer for the network, sunny footage of a fluffy white dog gives way quickly to old dark footage of Godzilla on a terror. An on-looker is dubbed over to say, “Godzilla rides with El Rey.”
At least one major advertiser is along for the ride. General Motors signed an exclusive deal with El Rey, and its vehicles will turn up strategically in the network’s TV-series version of another Rodriguez film, "From Dusk Till Dawn."