Upfronts 2013: Univision Partnering With Robert Rodriguez' El Rey Network

Complete Coverage: Upfronts 2013

New York -- Univision has formed a strategic partnership with El Rey Network, which is chaired by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids), and FactoryMade Ventures, Univision president Cesar Conde announced during the company's upfront presentation in New York City on Tuesday.

Noting Univision's partnerships with ABC and Participant Media, Conde introduced the “new partnership” with El Rey and introduced Rodriguez, who touted a series for the programming service based on his film From Dusk till Dawn, which he will write, produce and direct.

Rodriguez also announced an El Rey series from Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, which will start development at the end of June. Kurtzman and Orci are the writers and producers of Star Trek, Transformers , plus network series such as the new Fox launch Sleepy Hollow and the established Fringe and Hawaii Five-O.

The two original scripted shows are being developed as a part of the network’s co-financing pact with Reliance-backed television studio Georgeville Television and will be produced in Austin, Texas, home of Rodriguez’ 26-acre studio facilities.

The new partnership-backed net, envisioned as a general entertainment cable channel targeting young adults, is expected to launch in December, with Comcast providing carriage on its systems.

Move follows the news Monday that former Hearst executive Scott Sassa has been named vice chairman and Antoinette Alfonso Zel has been hired for the newly created role of chief marketing officer of El Rey Network.

"Our partnership in El Rey Network is a testament to Univision's culture of innovation, the power of our brand to live in both languages, and our constant quest to ensure we remain the ultimate resource for all Hispanics' tastes and preferences. As we continue to grow, evolve and expand into new frontiers, Univision remains the one and only gateway to U.S. Hispanic audiences," said Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc.

Rodriguez, a filmmaker known for genre-embracing fare such as Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn, The Faculty, Spy Kids, Machete and Sin City, will help “cultivate a mix of reality, scripted and animated series, movies, music and sports programming,” the official announcement said. El Rey will provide English-language programming and will “include action content that boldly features -- or is created, produced or directed by – high-caliber talent, celebrities and public figures.” Univision will handle back office operations, including sales and distribution of the network.

Deal terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Univision's upfront presentation featured Falco doing a mock version of AT&T's "We Want More" commercial and ended with a performance from Enrique Iglesias.