Tuesday, January 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rodriguez gives it to viewers straight with El Rey

TV-El Rey-Rodriguez

This image released by the El Rey Network shows director Robert Rodriguez on the set of "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series," premiering Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 9 p.m. EDT. (AP Photo/El Rey Network)

By
March 11, 2014 |

NEW YORK — In the past year, Netflix, with its online, all-at-once D.C. thriller “House of Cards,” has jolted the medium we used to know as “television.”

Now TV could be rocked by another game changer. Say hello to Robert Rodriguez, who, down in the Lone Star State at his aptly named Troublemaker Studios, is ready to rewrite some more rules.

It’s not just that Rodriguez, a prolific, much-admired filmmaker, has recently launched a TV network. Cable networks with a big name attached (remember Oprah Winfrey’s?) don’t inevitably rock the world.

But El Rey, Rodriguez’s gift to the 500-channel universe, could prove radically different. And disruptive. Here’s a channel spawned by a demonstrated, multifaceted auteur; a boutique network that could leverage its founder’s rambunctiously personal vision into a mainstream outlet carrying a chorus of other independent voices.

The revolution, if that’s how it turns out, could be sparked by El Rey’s first scripted original, “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” which premieres Tuesday at 6 p.m. PDT. (El Rey is now available in 40 million TV homes.)

This supernatural crime series is a reimagining of his 1996 cult classic of the same name written by Robert Kurtzman and Quentin Tarantino with a cast including George Clooney and Salma Hayek.

The series (Rodriguez is directing several of the 10 episodes) centers on the brutish bank-robbing Gecko brothers (played by D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz), who are sought by a pair of Texas Rangers (Don Johnson and Jesse Garcia) after a bank heist leaves several people dead. The brothers flee to Mexico and take refuge in a stripper bar. But the bar turns out to be the lair of vampires.

Judging from the premiere, made available for preview, this could be a fascinating ride. But it’s just the beginning, Rodriguez said.

El Rey is billed as a channel for young men “and what we call ‘kick-ass females,'” he said during a chat far removed from his Austin, Tex., headquarters as snowflakes fell outside a mid-Manhattan restaurant. El Rey has also been described as an English-language network catering to Latino viewers and a general audience that might not even realize it has a Spanish name.

But what Rodriguez seems to really have in mind is much more basic: a network that programs stuff he gets off on (whether masterminded by him or by others), aimed at any viewer who shares his cool wavelength — or might be ready to take the plunge into this culture.

“I don’t really want the network to be niche,” he declared. “With us doing a show like ‘Dusk Till Dawn,’ people say, ‘Is that the kind of shows you’ll be doing?’ But our next (original) series will be a little broader.”

That series is “Matador,” created by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (“Sleepy Hollow,” ”Fringe”). It focuses on a globe-trotting soccer champ and playboy who, unbeknownst to his adoring public, is also a top-secret CIA operative. It’s set for a July debut.

“Then our next show after that might open things up even more,” Rodriguez went on. “We’ll keep surprising people.”

Rodriguez’s mission is a distribution channel that connects him and others in his TV salon directly with their audience, no network suits or number crunchers in the way.

“I’ve had people tell me, ‘You just bypassed the whole system! It’s an insurrection,'” Rodriguez said with a laugh. “But it makes sense.”

He may be a TV newcomer, but this 45-year-old Texan, the son of Mexican-American parents, has always worked outside the system, beginning two decades ago with the film “El Mariachi.” It was made for $7,000 and became a Sundance Film Festival winner.

With his newest undertaking as El Rey Network chairman, Rodriguez, looking very un-chairmanlike in jeans and leather jacket, has stuck to his practice of wearing many hats, in addition to the Goorin Bros. cadet cap that, at this interview, rests on his head. As the need arises, he’s a producer, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor and musician. He even shoots the photos for his films’ poster art.

As a mega-multi-hyphenate, Rodriguez created the “Spy Kids” franchise, “Sin City,” ”The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D,” ”Grindhouse” and “Machete,” among his many films.

Now he has a pipeline for them and other stuff he likes, running straight from Austin to the screens of his loyal fan base and the broader viewership he means to cultivate.

“As we grow,” he said, “our priority will be more about hiring and training the right people to run the network. But I’ll still have to be pretty hands-on. And right now, I do everything but turn your TV on for you.”

How will he measure success for his new venture? By his gut as much as raw numbers, he said. Ratings won’t be available the first year.

“If there’s a show we feel will be great if we just stick with it, we’ll keep it on,” he said, looking ahead to a network that could keep him as surprised as its audience.

“I’m the person who’s starting the network,” he said. “But it’s not the Robert Rodriguez Network. It’s called El Rey because it’s bigger than me: Mi Network Es Su Network!”

An idea like that could blow TV wide open.

Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

Rush Ranch seeks docents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

 
Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B8

Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Vacaville council eyes earlier start time

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page:

 
.

US / World

Facebook suffers outage affecting users worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Private wells in California farm area show high uranium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Law enforcement wants popular police-tracking app disabled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Seekers of the Hollywood Sign disrupt nearby neighborhood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
2 small planes crash-land off Hawaii; all aboard survive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Report: State worker sent alarming notes before gun arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
 
Dwindling group of survivors to mark Auschwitz 70 years on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

New Jersey’s Christie launches political action committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US drone strikes resume in Yemen despite turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Monster snowstorm swirls into densely populated Northeast US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Man takes responsibility for drone over White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Petty earns writing credit for Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering begins in northeast Nevada

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Trainor and Styles write a duet about heartbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Emma Watson to star in live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
SAG Awards win sends ‘Birdman’ Oscar hopes soaring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cumberbatch says sorry for calling black actors ‘colored’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
A murder at the edge of the world takes ‘Fortitude’ to crack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Lawyers: Melissa Rivers files lawsuit in mother Joan’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Sundance Watch: ‘Cobain’ premieres, women talk Hollywood

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Manfred knows he’ll get hit as commish _ his name is on ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NASCAR to leave championship format unchanged in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tim Brown hopes 6th time is charm in Hall of Fame vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders sign Charles Woodson for 2015 season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rams notify St. Louis they’ll go year-to-year on dome lease

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Gamecocks still No. 1; Chattanooga joins women’s hoops poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Scott Dixon shines in masterful final drive in Rolex win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
LeBron, Cavs climb in standings, back in title conversation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Capitals among East contenders; West race too tight to call

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Playoff not interested in moving semis of New Year’s Eve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fireworks help celebrate Venus Williams’ Australian Open run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
US women to host New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA D-League All-Star events set for Feb. 15 in Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP Source: Los Angeles Kings release Mike Richards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hope Solo could be left off US World Cup roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Employers: Agreement made on key issue in port labor dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lyft cars doing away with pink furry mustache

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Hard Rock (again) dips toe into Atlantic City casino market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

US stock market finishes with small gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
IBM disputes report that big layoffs coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Union says California Kaiser nurses reach contract agreement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

CBO: Deficit to shrink to lowest level of Obama presidency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Eurozone looks for dialogue after stunning Greece elections

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S&P downgrades Russia credit rating to junk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Wesley Johnson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4