EXCLUSIVE: Six years after the debut of Ugly Betty, two of the key auspices behind the successful dramedy are reuniting for another light drama at ABC and ABC Studios about a Latino family. In a last-minute buy, the network has put in development Bastards, from Ugly Betty executive producer Salma Hayek and the show’s creator/executive producer Silvio Horta. Completing the A-list team behind the show is producer Mark Gordon, who will also executive produce. Written by Horta, Bastards centers on a colorful Cuban-American family who have their lives turned upside down when it’s revealed that the family patriarch had a child with the family maid over 25 years ago. Now his wife will do anything to protect her children’s inheritance and prevent her family’s deep dark secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
Bastards originated with an idea by Hayek. She and Jose Tamez, her producing partner at their ABC-Studios based Ventanarosa, had been trying to tackle the premise for awhile and had teamed with Gordon’s Mark Gordon Prods., which also is under a deal at ABC Studios. Horta, who is of Cuban- American descent, recently received a call from Tamez and Mark Gordon Prods.’ drama executive Nicholas Pepper who was once Horta’s ABC executive on Ugly Betty. “I immediately sparked to the concept — it was fun and juicy and had the opportunity for both a lot of salacious situations and humor as well as a lot of heart and emotions, hitting that sweet spot I like to write,” Horta said. After some very fast deal-making, the team sold the project at ABC. Back in 2005, others had taken a stab at adapting the popular telenovela Ugly Betty for American audiences before Horta, but his version stuck. “I hope history will repeat itself,” he quipped. Horta, Hayek, Tamez, Gordon and Pepper are executive producing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ugly Betty developer/ executive producer Silvio Horta is back at ABC with a new dramedy project, this time teamed with Easy A and Friends With Benefits director Will Gluck. ABC has bought Mrs. Miller, an action comedic drama from Sony Pictures TV and Gluck’s studio-based shingle Olive Bridge Entertainment. Kell Cahoon (Psych) will write the script and will executive produce with Horta and Gluck, while Olive Bridge’s Richie Schwartz will co-executive produce.
Mrs. Miller centers on a retired CIA operative whose quiet, comfortable suburban life is turned upside down after she’s pulled back into the world of espionage. Determined to keep the two worlds secret and separate from each other, she must now lead a double life where the queen bee housewife in her neighborhood can be as menacing as an arms dealer in Beirut. This is the seventh sale for Olive Bridge in its first development season under the deal with Sony inked in May and the first on the hourlong side, joining 6 comedies. For Horta, also in his first year of a deal at Sony TV, this is the third project this season, along with a comedy based on the blog Texts From Last Night with Happy Madison and Latino family dramedy executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. Horta is writing and executive producing both shows, which are set up at Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: Just when we thought the trend of comedies based on blogs and Twitter feeds was cooling off, it’s back! Fox has tapped Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta to develop a half-hour comedy based on the infamous blog Texts From Last Night. Happy Madison and Sony Pictures TV are producing. Fox has been high on the Web property. The network, Happy Madison and Sony TV first took a stab at developing a comedy based on the Web site two seasons ago with Steve Holland as the writer. Last season, it was redeveloped with different writers, Marc Abrams and Michael Benson. Now a new take will be written by Horta, who had been looking to branch out into half-hour comedies after creating 2 sci-fi dramas, The Chronicle and Jake 2.0 and a dramedy, ABC’s Ugly Betty. The user-generated TFNL blog posts “regrettable,” often embarrassing text messages usually sent late at night by people who are drunk or high. The Web site became an instant hit when it launched in February 2009, and landed a book and TV deal. This marks WME-repped Horta’s second sale under the overall deal with Sony TV he signed in June. The other one, also at Fox, is a Latino family dramedy, which he is writing and executive executive producing with Jennifer Lopez.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is expanding its relationship with American Idol star Jennifer Lopez to the scripted side. The network has bought a family dramedy project from Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta, which he is executive producing with Lopez. Sony Pictures TV, where Horta is under an overall deal, is producing the dramedy, which has landed a script commitment with penalty.
The project, inspired by an idea of Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, had been earmarked for Fox ever since Horta started developing it at Sony several months ago. It is about a Latino family and centers on three sisters and their interlinked lives. Horta will write the script and executive produce with Lopez and her producing partner at Nuyorican Prods Simon Fields. Lopez, who started in TV as a dancer on In Living Color and actress on several series, has stayed connected to the small screen as a producer and now as judge on Idol. Nuyorican Prods’ reality series South Beach Tow was recently renewed for a second season by TruTV. Horta is with WME, Lopez with UTA.
More Latino TV? Q&A With Showrunner Silvio Horta
Ugly Betty developer/executive producer Silvio Horta is returning to active TV duty. After fielding interest from several studios, Horta has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. After Ugly Betty ended its four-season run on ABC in the spring of 2010, “I took big chunk of time off,” Horta said. “I wanted to decompress for a while and started working on things of my own, wrote a feature spec.” Now he is back just in time for the upcoming development season and is already zeroing in on a couple of projects.
One is a show at Fox about three sisters in Miami, the city where Horta was born and raised, with interconnected love lives. Also like Horta, the sisters are Cuban-American. Jennifer Lopez, who has an existing relationship with Fox via American Idol, may come on board as a producer. Additionally, Horta, who has only worked in the hourlong format so far, including creating UPN’s sci-fi drama Jake 2.0, said he has an idea for a half-hour comedy. “I’ve never done half-hours, and I would like to take a shot at that. I’m also definitely interested in venturing into cable.” Read More »
This weekend, the 2011 National Association of Latino Independent Producers Conference is meeting in Newport Beach. Now in its 12th year, the confab is attended annually by Latino actors, executives, producers, and those interested in Latino film and television content. This year’s theme is “The New Now: Defining the Future Together”. But the most recent TV report card from the National Latino Media Council accused the four major TV networks of declining Latino diversity both in front of and behind the camera. “This was a terrible year for Latinos at the networks,” summed up NMLC president Alex Nogales. And among broadcast pilots for the 2011-2012 season, there’s only the CBS pilot starring Rob Schneider as a confirmed bachelor who has just married into a tight-knit Mexican-American family, and Fox’s Little In Common which includes a Latin family. The last Latino show on a network was ABC’s telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty which debuted to critical acclaim in 2006 but never enjoyed the network’s full support. When it was cancelled a year ago, Deadline TV contributor Diane Haithman first talked with its 36-year-old showrunner Silvio Horta and then again after the NLMC report card came out:
DEADLINE: What are your thoughts about the National Latino Media Council’s network report card?
SILVIO HORTA: Look, I think there are 50 million Latinos in the U.S. To have more Latino faces and more Latinos working in the industry would seem not just good for diversity, it seems like good business. Personally, I’d rather see accurate and well-done portrayals, and a … Read More »