Robert Rodriguez Starts a Television Channel

The DIY filmmaker raises his own bar with the creation of the cable television channel El Rey, which is geared to the English-speaking Latino market.
Tue February 28, 2012 1:34 am
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To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his movie El Mariachi , the exemplar of DIY filmmaking, Robert Rodriguez, the Austin writer and director, will try to one-up himself by creating his own cable television channel , El Rey. The programming, to debut on Comcast in 2014, will be geared towards Latinos, but will be broadcast in English.

“I have 5 children of my own,” Rodriguez told Fox News Latino . “They are bilingual, like most second and third generations. But they speak primarily in English and they couldn’t find anything on television that represented who they are in this country.”

Joining Rodriguez in his appeal to the underserved are Magic Johnson, who will target African-Americans with positive messages on the Aspire channel, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, who will tap into the social-media generation with the Revolt channel. Rodriguez’s ability to run the gamut—from the blood-and-guts-soaked Grindhouse double feature with Quentin Tarantino to the Spy Kids franchise—would seem to qualify him for a monumental undertaking that has proven difficult for even Oprah Winfrey.

“We knew if we could get Robert on board we would finally have that authentic voice,”  John Fogelman, Rodriguez’s partner in the venture, told the Los Angeles Times . “There is a groovy factor to him, you can see it in his films and the talent whom he gets to work with him.”

The website Geeks of Doom explains the significance behind the name of Rodriguez’s channel, tracing it back to Jim Thompson’s crime novel The Getaway . But all of that is lost on Cindy Casares of the Texas Observer , who fears the channel will lose focus and turn into a bro-fest. “Even the name, El Rey, sounds to be a nod to Jose Alfredo Jimenez’s ranchera standard, ‘El Rey,’” she wrote, “which is Mexico’s ‘My Way,’ but with more chest hair.”

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