Cable Show 2013: Lopez, Rodriguez Tout Network Plans To Industry

Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez and film producer Robert Rodriguez pitched their respective Latino-targeted, English-language networks to the cable industry during separate events Wednesday morning during the 2013 Cable Show.

Lopez spoke about her role as chief creative officer of NuvoTv during the show’s opening session, saying the network will be targeted to modern Latinos looking for content that represents their lives. While there are more Latinos on TV today, Lopez said that the characters don’t necessarily reflect today’s Latino population.

“This is an English-speaking network for the modern Latino and it requires different programming and a targeted agenda,” she said.

Music programming is high on Lopez’ s list of content to launch on the network, pointing to the success that BET and MTV had in its early years with music videos prior to expanding into original series. She also said she wants to eventually offer scripted content on the network.

Lopez said she will be involved in the decisions on the look and feel of the network --currently in more than 32 million homes -- as well as with programming decisions while continuing her acting and musical career. “For me it represents something bigger than just television,” she said. “It represents doing something for this community that has been so underserved for so long.”

Rodriguez, speaking at NAMIC’s Annual Awards Breakfast Tuesday morning, said he expects his upstart El Rey Network to deliver “kick-ass television” to English-speaking Hispanics when the network launches this December. El Rey, which last month announced a strategic partnership with Univision, is one of four multicultural networks supported by Comcast under the merger conditions that allowed it to assume control of NBCUniversal.

Rodriguez, who produced such films as The Spy Kids franchise and From Dusk Til Dawn, said the network will feature content made by and for “an extraordinarily diverse audience that makes up our society today.” While the network will target English-language Hispanics, Rodriguez said the network will appeal to all viewers.

“The natural evolution for me was to bring the same cutting edge innovation to Tv,” he said. ““We’re going to bring viewers sensational scripted dramas, reality series comedies and sports.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.