First it was Jennifer Lopez on American Idol, then Christina Aguilera on The Voice. Now, just as both Univision and FOX are airing the same first-of-its-kind bilingual show, Q’Viva The Chosen, ABC is incorporating Cuban heartthrob William Levy into their hit show Dancing With The Stars, and Telemundo is producing more Spanglish programing than ever (the list goes on, but in the interest of brevity will stick to these examples for now), Comcast has decided to jump on the Latino-oriented entertainment bandwagon by introducing their own all Latino cable channel as well!
They’re teaming up with critically acclaimed director Robert Rodriguez – El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Sin City, Machete, Once upon a time in Mexico – to launch El Rey Network, a new Hispanic content channel scheduled to go live by no later than January 2014.
Folks, I believe the days of typical typecast shows about Latinos or with Latino stereotypes in them might finally be coming to an end. Or at least the sound of all these new developments make it appear that way. We can hope so, por lo menos. Seemingly, networks across the board are realizing what we as Latino viewers have known all along: if it’s entertaining, we’ll watch it on whatever network or language our favorite program is on.
It’s not enough to dub a successful English reality show into Spanish with an all Spanish-speaking cast. We can just as easily watch the original version in English and be done with it. Besides American Idol and Big Brother just aren’t the same in Spanish! Nor is it enough to add a recognizable Latino actor into a small role in an already established primetime show on ABC, CBS, or NBC. You can only have so many Latino and Latina criminal investigators, detectives and cops! Seriously!
That’s what was so great about JLo and Christina on two of primetime’s biggest shows. They weren’t there as special guests or as performers for “Latin Night.” They were there being who they are. Two major celebrities who draw an audience, both mainstream and Latino, who just happen to be Latinas themselves. Neither Christina or Jennifer made a big deal about their heritage or just how Hispanic or not they might be. Nobody really did and that’s the point! In this developing new entertainment industry landscape networks seem less concerned about affirmative action and more interested in how they might truly reach and keep a US Hispanic viewing audience.
That’s the same thing Rodriquez and Comcast will be vying for with El Rey Network.
Times are definitely a changing!
Watch Robert Rodriguez in this interview explaining what he hopes El Rey Network will accomplish: