El Rey primarily focuses on grindhouse-style content and has shown everything from classic television series like Miami Vice, to sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre programming, to kung-fu flicks, monster movies, and cult classics, to animated series like Red vs. Blue, and even sporting events like the BAJA Dessert Championships.
The network's programming puts an emphasis on characters who are mavericks and renegades. Its best known original shows are From Dusk Till Dawn, based on the film series, and Lucha Underground, an original drama that doubles as a Lucha Libre promotion featuring stars from, and is partially owned by, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. As a result of all this, El Rey Network has been likened to a Latino-oriented Spike TV, back when it was a male entertainment network, in particular, back when it was fixated on action shows and movies instead of reality shows.
Additionally, El Rey airs programs that celebrate independent filmmaking, such as The Director's Chair, where Rodriguez interviews fellow directors and notable figures in the film industry, and The People's Network Showcase, which spotlights short films made by indie creators.
For those that don't have access to the network, some of El Rey Network's original shows can be streamed in the United States on Otter Media's VRV platform; From Dusk Till Dawn was distributed internationally by Netflix, and episodes of Lucha Underground are available for purchase on iTunes (in addition to past seasons now being available on Netflix).
El Rey was shut down on December 31, 2020, a month after Univision sold its minority stake in the network, and in the wake of its losing distribution throughout the past year, having been dropped by AT&T and Spectrum, among other cable companies. The network's final broadcast was unceremonious, cutting to black after its final program, a Lucha Underground episode, concluded.
The following year, it was announced that El Rey would return as a free streaming network, with Cinedigm serving as a distribution partner.
Programming seen on El Rey Network include:
- Bushido Battleground
- The Director's Chair
- Explosion Jones (Premiered first on go90)
- From Dusk Till Dawn
- Lucha Underground
- Man at Arms: Art of War
- The Mondo Animation Hour (Co-production with Mondo Media)
- The People's Network Showcase (Can also be seen on YouTube)
- Rebel Without a Crew (Premiered first on go90)
- Rite of Passage