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Matador Has Been Cancelled After One Season

The El Rey Network has decided not to move forward with a second season on the action drama Matador. The show from Robert Rodriguez’s network limped through just 13 episodes despite having the pilot directed by the El Mariachi auteur. It seems that the series, created by the dynamic duo of Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman was unable to find its audience on the niche network. Despite the shows pedigree, the program did not live up to its expectations on a global scale even though the premise for Matador had the potential for mass appeal.

The series about a DEA agent (Gabriel Luna) recruited by the CIA that goes undercover as a pro soccer player to take down corruption premiered after the World Cup in July and ended its run in October. According to Deadline, the main reason for pulling the plug on the production was simple: money. Word has it that the production was quite expensive and although it performed okay in the United States, the whole “Latin James Bond” angle never took off on a bigger scope. It looks like the final nail in the coffin was a very simple business decision for the fledgling network.

Despite being under Orci and Kurtzman’s executive producing guidance, visibility for Matador seemed to be low with the El Rey Network not quite catching on just yet. The network is still trying to build their stable of original programming and Matador did seem like an ideal fit. The story centered on Antonio “Matador” Bravo, a well known soccer player and playboy who uses his athletic stardom as a cover for his other life as a deep cover operative with a niche branch of the CIA. By using his fame and power, the Matador would leverage his way to get close to seriously corrupt and shady villains in the soccer underworld. It is when Bravo has to face his double life that the narrative tried to build upon. Unfortunately, the series is now resting comfortably in cancelled heaven.

Still, it is too early to count out El Rey just yet. Matador was just the network's second attempt at an original scripted series. Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is the other one and that has been renewed already for a second season. Hey, one out of two ain’t so bad in the TV game! Matador also carried some heavy acting weight with award winning actor Alfred Molina as the suspected corrupt owner of the soccer team. However it was still not enough to save the fledgling series.

I think had Matador had some higher visibility to its target audience and demographic, it could have had the potential to be a big hit. It was an ambitious entry for El Rey and although it is off of their radar, who knows what the future holds for the property. Maybe Matador will find a streaming home which seems to be a growing trend with cancelled series.