10:59am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Mark Burnett Bringing Lucha Libre Wrestling to El Rey Network
Mark Burnett is expanding his empire to the El Rey Network.
The uber-producer behind Survivor and The Bible is teaming with Robert Rodriguez's new Latino-themed network to create a weekly hourlong series featuring a new lucha libre league. The Mexican wrestling series will debut in the second half of 2014.
Burnett's One Three Media will partner with Lucha Libre AAA -- Mexico's leading league -- and FactoryMade Ventures. Antonio Cue Sanchez-Navarro and LatinoAmerica's largest production group, Alex Garcia's AG Studios, are also on board for the new venture.
"Starting this business with a new television series on a cutting-edge network like El Rey is very exciting," Burnett said in a release announcing the news. "And it doesn't end there. Wrestling is a billion-dollar business in the U.S., and with partners like Robert Rodriguez, Lucha Libre AAA and the rest of our great team, our new lucha libre league will make that market even bigger."
Added Rodriguez: "El Rey Network is all about the unexpected which is why this is the perfect partnership. Our association with Lucha Libre AAA, FactoryMade and Mark Burnett's One Three Media speaks to our commitment to create content that resonates for a culturally diverse generation -- one that expects high impact and excitement from their entertainment programming."
As part of the new pact, the group will develop monthly and quarterly specials, as well as pay-per-view lucha libre events. Merchandise, licensing and product integration opportunities for the league are also being explored.
The news comes nearly a year after Lucha Libre announced plans to explore scripted and unscripted TV with new partners FactoryMade and Starlight Runner Entertainment, who will help build the multiplatform world of heroes and villains.
In addition to Burnett and One Three Media, El Rey Network's weekly series also will be executive produced by Rodriguez and by FactoryMade and El Rey co-founders John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa. One Three Media's COO Brian Edwards will join the venture's board with current board members Dorian Roldan from Lucha Libre AAA, Cue Sanchez-Navarro, Fogelman and Patwa.
Beyond his new El Rey venture, Burnett also has The Bible follow-up miniseries set up at NBC, CBS' siege of Masada mini The Dovekeepers, NBC event series Plymouth as well as a space competition series, among other projects.
The El Rey Network, which launched in December, is a new 24-hour English-language network targeting the Latino 18-49 audience. Founded and curated by Rodriguez, the network has a national distribution agreement with Comcast. Scott Sassa serves as the network's vice chairman.