Starz Announces Development of Three Spanish Language Projects

TV Insider Coverage of Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour 2016

Starz is getting into the telenovela business.

The cable network announced the development of three new Spanish language properties on Friday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht noted the new projects continue the network’s mission of catering to underserved audiences in the premium space.

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“The audience we’re going for is the bilingual second generation audience,” Albrecht told reporters. “It’s an audience that is hard to corral because there are a lot of cultural elements there, but if we lean into them a little bit, we can show them that Starz has them on their minds.”

Maleficio, based on the popular Mexican telenovela El Maleficio which aired over 300 episodes between 1983-84, is a supernatural thriller centering on Don Enrique De Martino, a powerful Mexican businessman who has made a deadly pact with the devil. Mauricio Katz will serve as showrunner, with Pedro Peirano as executive producer/co-writer. Televisa USA will co-produce.

Pour Vida, based on a short story by Richard Villegas, Jr., follows twin sisters Brook and Lyn Hernandez as they inherit a building in east Los Angeles and open a new wine bar. Big Beach TV will produce with Marc Turtletaub, Dan Pasternack and Erin Keating executive producing.

Santeria, from Cuban writer/director Alejandro Brugues, is a supernatural thriller about two undercover agents who investigate a bizarre murder and are pulled into a mysterious conflict rooted in the ancient Cuban religion of Santeria. Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale also serve as executive producers.

“What we want is genuine voices,” Albrecht added. “The obstacle to more diversity in programming is that diverse voices aren’t allowed to put forth their work, so we try to find the voices that have a passion for the project.”