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Robert Rodriguez and El Rey Network Score Big With 'Matador' TV Series Featuring Soccer Player Turned CIA Agent

First Posted: Jun 17, 2014 09:42 AM EDT
Matador's Gabriel Luna

Photo : Facebook/Robert Rodriguez

With the World Cup 2014 underway, soccer aficionados are absorbed in everything related to the intense sport -— from the stats, players and profound plays to the FIFA anthems, commercials, playlists and musical performances.

It's also the perfect time to kick off El Rey Network's next original show, "Matador," an original, scripted action series from executive producers Andrew and Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie. The action-packed show follows popular soccer star Tony "Matador" Bravo, played by Gabriel Luna. Matador has stellar moves on and off the field and is a skilled covert operative executing missions for the CIA.

"Matador" will premiere July 15 at 9 p.m. ET, following the World Cup competition. El Rey Network's founder and chairman, Mexican-American director Robert Rodriguez, will direct the first episode.

Rodriguez knows a thing or two about his target audience, young Latino males. In March, the up-and-coming network launched its TV series, "From Dusk Till Dawn," starring Wilmer Valderamma and Eiza Gonzalez. The show was picked up for a second season. In addition, El Rey has acquired "Starsky & Hutch" and "Miami Vice." 

"This is exactly the kind of programming we envisioned from the get-go — 'Matador' is action-packed, irreverent and kick-ass entertainment to its core," Rodriguez said. "The K/O team really understands our brand and has the means to cut through the clutter with fresh and contemporary themes that will speak to our viewers."

"'Matador' chronicles the unlikely rise of Antonio 'Matador' Bravo, a popular soccer star, who comes to be known as much for his playboy antics off the field as his dynamic moves on it. But what his fans and family don't realize is that it's all a cover —in truth, he is a skilled covert operative executing missions for a little-known branch of the CIA," according to El Rey Network's news release.

"In this modern-day take on a James Bond origins story, 'Matador' has the kind of fame and notoriety that affords him access to powerful circles of corruption and villainy. But, in balancing the dueling roles in which he's been cast, he will be forced to confront the question of his true identity ... and it is this mission which will prove to be his most dangerous."

"We're thrilled to be working with El Rey Network on this new series," said Roberto Orci, co-founder of K/O Paper Products. "The network has given us a platform to expand our reach to young millennials, and we are excited to bring 'Matador' to El Rey's passionate audience."

Besides Luna, "Matador" stars Nicky Whelan, Neil Hopkins, Alfred Molina and Tanc Sade, among others.

From an advertising standpoint, Rodriguez is on to something big by landing deals with heavy hitters such as General Motors, Heinenken USA and it brewer, Dos Equis.

According to the Austin Chronicle, Rodriguez is making huge strides for not only Latinos in film, but also local film and TV professionals in Austin, Texas. He recently announced that his English-language El Rey Network "will use Austin as its production and corporate headquarters," making El Rey Network the first Texas-based TV network.

"I can't imagine a more iconic and inspiring location for our production headquarters or for the filming of our upcoming projects," he told AC.

"Its target demographic is one that has historically been underserved by U.S. studios and networks: second- and third-generation Latinos who live in English-speaking households. El Rey currently reaches 40 million homes around the U.S., plus international audiences through Netflix deals for some of its programming."

Check out the for the teaser for "Matador," which kicks off on El Rey Network at 9 p.m. EDT July 15.

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