Published February 21, 2012
| Fox News Latino
Robert Rodriguez has made a mark in Hollywood for his butt kicking blockbusters such as Sin City and Desperado. He's worked with stars like Salma Heyek, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba and Danny Trejo. But now, Rodriguez is connecting with US Latinos in a different way.
The Mexican-American movie director just announced the launch of his new independent TV network, “El Rey” which he says will give second and third generation Latinos “something to identify with” while appealing to a mass audience.
“I have 5 children of my own. They are bilingual, like most second and third generations," Rodriguez told FOX News Latino in an exclusive interview. "But they speak primarily in English and they couldn’t find anything on television that represented who they are in this country.”
He said he wants to change that with his new network, "El Rey."
"We know the audience is hungry for it," he said.
The new project is an agreement with Comcast and Factory/Made Executives John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa. The network will have movies, TV shows, reality shows and animated features as well as Rodriguez’s signature explosive, action- filled entertainment, he said.
Rodriguez said he will use the same strategy he does with his films to make "El Rey" successful and relevant.
"This year makes 20 years that I made 'El Mariachi' and I was really determined to fill the screen with Latin faces, talent and ideas and stories but in a way still appeal to the mass audience, the mass market," Rodriguez said.
In a statement released Tuesday, Comcast said Latinos can expect "Hispanic producers, celebrities and public figures" to be a part of El Rey network.
The news comes just days after Univision and ABC joined forces to launch a cable news network also targeting the US Latino population.
Fogelman, who has known Rodriguez for the past 20 years, said he Patwa "spent a lot of time looking at the Census" data before developing the proposal for El Rey and taking it to Rodriguez.
"We went to Robert with a 200-page presentation," Fogelman said. "By the second slide, he was in."
He said the only way the network was going to work, was to work with the best.
"There is no one that can promote the type of authenticity that Robert can in able to reach that demographic," he said.
Rodriguez says that’s where Comcast comes in.
"We’re not going to have the reach limitations that other networks, that have tried this before have," Rodriguez said. "The content and the reach are very important. It will be carried everywhere."
The "Sin City" star also emphasized the importance of compelling content and creating "his own stars" which would open up doors for other Latinos.
“I started casting people like Salma, and Danny and Antonio in movies then it became more prevalent when I did Desperado,” Rodriguez said.
He said he realized he had to create his own stars. And it opened he doors for many Latinos. He said the same could happen 20 years later.
"[It’s about] doing the same thing by finding this whole new wave of filmmakers and talent and voices," he said.
Comcast also announced the another network, “BabyFirst Americas,” developed by Constantino “Said” Schwartz that will target children and parents and focus on key teaching key motor skills.
There is a lot of research out there on how Latino children start kindergarten with fewer vocabulary words that their counterparts,” Kristin Feltz, VP of Marketing at “BabyFirst Americas” told FOX News Latino.
Mario Solis-Marich, VP of Programming at “BabyFirst Americas” agrees.
“This is going to give parents a huge tool for playtime with their children,” Marich said.
“We have a huge learning gap. The idea for this channel is a no brainer.”
Marich added that “culturally and competent” content is already in progress. He said Latino celebrities have already been contacted and “are really excited” to come on board.
The list of the Latino celebs collaborating with the network is scheduled to be released in the next few weeks.
Sean “Diddy” Combs and Magic Johnson will also be debuting their new networks, “Revolt” and “Aspire” with Comcast targeting the African-American community in the Unites States.