CREATOR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, SHOWRUNNER: Byron Balasco
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Endemol Studios
Coming up this April on RTL CBS Extreme is TV series, Kingdom. Kingdom is a visceral family saga that takes place in Venice, California and is set against the backdrop of the renegade subculture of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). It is a world rife with complex characters and relationships that unfurl in surprising and deeply human ways.
The Kingdom cast stars Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Homefront; Warrior) as Alvey Kulina, a Mixed Martial Arts legend and owner of Navy St. MMA gym based in Venice, CA; Kiele Sanchez (The Glades; Lost) as Lisa Prince, Alvey’s girlfriend; Matt Lauria (Friday Night Lights) as Ryan Wheeler, the world-class athlete who had it all, including Lisa Prince, until his spiraling drug addiction landed him in prison; Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood) as Jay Kulina, Alvey’s eldest son; Nick Jonas as Nate Kulina, Alvey’s youngest son and the prized fighter at the gym, and Joanna Going (House of Cards; Mad Men) as Christina Kulina, Alvey’s estranged wife and mother of Jay and Nate.
When word gets out that superstar Ryan Wheeler is training with Alvey, Navy St. MMA gym begins to gain some attention. Finally, Alvey begins to taste a bit of the glamour to go with the grit. He is willing to go through extraordinary means to make sure his fighters are taken care of, but all of this success and responsibility comes at a steep price. Despite Lisa’s pleas to Alvey not to let her ex train at the gym, suspecting he has ulterior motives and knowing her feelings for him are unresolved, Alvey lets the wolf in the door on the grounds that his relationship with Lisa is solid and the belief that Ryan is ready to redeem himself. Ryan, however, is not the only superstar at Navy St. MMA making headlines. Lisa’s reputation as a savvy businesswoman is beginning to grow beyond the walls of the Navy St. MMA gym. She is approached by investors who want to put money into Alvey’s gym and it may be impossible for her to say no. Is his comeback truly about wanting to make amends or will too much fame, money and access threaten Ryan’s intentions and his return to glory? For Jay, if he can start earning money by getting back into the cage, he might be able to get his mother Christina off of the streets and settle the score with the guys who assaulted his brother Nate, who is forced to take a hiatus from fighting to recover from his injuries.
Alvey owns NAVY ST. MMA, a gritty storefront gym/dojo in Venice, CA. A beloved MMA legend, he is a man of big appetites. He came up in a savage world, when MMA was closer to human cockfighting with no rules than a mainstream sport. He is a true warrior, carved on the Mt. Rushmore of MMA, but he doesn’t have a dime to show for it. He is in love with Lisa Prince, an extraordinary woman who tells him the truth. He has a fragile but evolving relationship with his two sons.
Stunning, intelligent, generous, savvy, intuitive and deliberate, Lisa is Alvey’s girlfriend of two years. They live together and despite the age difference, they are very much in love. She runs the gym with military precision, always looking for ways to keep it afloat. One night, years ago, she met a MMA star named Ryan. They fell in love and she fell into the world of fighting. When Ryan crashed and burned and tore down her life, Alvey was there to pick her up. She started working at his gym, it became her family and eventually she and Alvey fell in love. Nothing about their relationship is conventional, but they have great respect for one another.
Charming, intelligent, great looking, a physical presence, Ryan is a former three-time All-American wrestler and a world-class athlete. Four years ago, Ryan was on top of the world. He had money, fame and Lisa Prince until he lands in prison. When he shows up at Alvey’s gym after his release, he is a changed man; humbled. Even though Lisa is suspect of Ryan’s intentions in returning to the gym, Alvey, despite the risks, sees the return of a superstar fighter as an opportunity that can change the fortune of his struggling gym.
Jay is Alvey’s oldest son. A one-in-a-million talent, he is not the biggest or the strongest, but he is the most natural, fluid and creative in the game, except he is not in the game. He is undisciplined, unpredictable and pushes confrontation. Jay is a live-wire who lives life with very little thought about consequences. He has a complicated relationship with his father. He hasn’t forgiven him for turning his back on his mother Christina or for disappearing on him and his brother Nate.
Nate is Alvey’s youngest son and the prized fighter at the gym. He has always looked up to his older brother but he is the polar opposite of Jay. Nate is reserved, disciplined and dedicated. He does what is expected of him. He eats right, he trains hard, he gets in the cage and he takes down his opponent. Nate is an explosive athlete but he feels empty. He feels like he is living someone else’s life. He loves his family, but he feels like a proxy in the cold war between his brother and his father.
Christina is Alvey’s estranged wife and mother of Jay and Nate. An engaging, beautiful woman, she was undone by mental illness and a drug problem, which led to her estrangement from the family. Her oldest son Jay blames Alvey. Her youngest son Nate barely remembers her. Alvey could have done better as a husband and father, but he shielded his sons from darker times. Christina is the heartbreak of Jay’s life, her oldest son, and he will do anything to help his mother.
Above photos credit to: ©An Endemol Studios Production for DirecTV