As has long been rumored, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that a new lucha libre wrestling show involving AAA talent will air this year on the new El Rey Network, but it won't start airing until late summer at the earliest:
"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...
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."
The clear benefit of having such a big hitting television producer on board is that it will help the new program get much more media publicity than it would do otherwise. However, that comes with the major drawback that the person with creative oversight may have very little understanding of the unique entertainment form of pro wrestling, especially for a show specifically designed to appeal to the Mexican culture. Thus, this could bode to be an absolute mess, like MTV's Wrestling Society X, which saw exploding caskets in its debut episode.
However, it's far too early to tell whether this will be a cult hit or a spectacular flop. With a television platform, AAA at least has a chance to finally break into the North American market, after many years of trying to find an avenue to do so.
One would also expect this is where the former Sin Cara, Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, aka Mistico, ends up, as even though he's still under contract to WWE, it is believed to expire shortly and clearly neither side at this point wants to keep working with the other. Given his popularity with young children and spectacular aerials, he would be the perfect person to build the promotion around, especially as he would surely relish sticking it to his former employer who gave up on him far too soon.
We'll keep an eye on this story as it develops, Cagesiders.