El Rey, Mark Burnett To Create Luche Libre Series

Upstart cable network El Rey will team with reality series producer Mark Burnett to bring Mexican-based lucha libre pro wrestling content to America.

Burnett’s One Three Media is partnering with Mexico’s Lucha Libre AAA league to create a weekly, one-hour series that will debut in the second half of 2014, network founder and chairman Robert Rodriguez and Burnett announced during the English-language, Hispanic-targeted network’s Television Critics Association tour presentation Sunday. In Mexico, lucha libre is hugely successful, rating behind only soccer as the most popular sport on television, according to network executives.

“This is cereated to build a sport in America,” Burnett said. “Why wouldn’t you bring Mexico’s number two sport to America ... it’s a long term, big play for us.”

The startup network will also partner with Gurney Productions’ Scott and Deirdre Gurney (Duck Dynasty) and VICE Media to develop a series of edgy, one-hour specials that will examine interesting, off beat subcultures and movements, according to Scott Sassa, Vice Chairman, El Rey Network.

Along with previously announced original series Dusk Til Dawn, the network announced the development of Matador, a scripted action series that follows a popular soccer star who doubles as a spy, Rodriguez said. The 13-episode series, which will debut in summer 2014, will be produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products (Sleepy Hollow, Fringe,Star Trek and Transformer franchises), said the network. 

 The network also announced it has secured the rights to classic telvision series Starsky & Hutch, Dark Angel and The X-Files.

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.