Robert Rodriguez is a one-man filmmaking force: he writes, directs, edits, composes the music, and creates the visual effects for his many movies. The guy even has his own movie studio so he never has to leave Austin, Texas. All Rodriguez is lacking now is his own cable channel and chain of movie theaters that serve cold Mexican beer and barbecue at the concession stand. Thanks to Comcast he now has the former.
Rodriguez recently announced the launch of El Rey, a new network that is, in the director’s own words, “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 director of such movies as Desperado, Sin City, and the Planet Terror half of Grindhouse created the channel with John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa of FactoryMade Ventures.
The name El Rey has special meaning for fans of the director’s films: it was the name of the superheroic badass played by Freddy Rodriguez (no relation) in Planet Terror, and in From Dusk Till Dawn El Rey was the name of a Mexican town where the outlaw brothers played by George Clooney and frequent Rodriguez collaborator Quentin Tarantino were headed when they come across a strip club staffed by ravenous vampires. Tarantino inserted the reference to El Rey in his From Dusk Till Dawn screenplay as a tribute to Jim Thompson’s classic crime novel The Getaway.
Rodriguez and Fogelman shared their thoughts on the news in a press release:
“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. 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.”
Comcast has also announced new cable channels to be headed by retired basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Sean “Diddy” Combs as part of a campaign by the media conglomerate to appeal to minority audiences. They also plan to launch BabyFirst Americas, a channel “designed for infants, very young children, and their parents.”
In the meantime Rodriguez and his partners hope to have El Rey on the air by January 2014.