Lionsgate and Televisa joint venture Pantelion Films is expanding its global brand, tapping Anne-Marie Ross as President of International. Ross is a 13-year veteran of Lionsgate, most recently serving as EVP of Sales overseeing several key European territories, Australia and Japan. Pantelion’s new international division will kick off its slate here in Cannes with the Sean McNamara-directed George Lopez starrer La Vida Robot. Marisa Tomei and Jamie Lee Curtis also feature in the film that’s based on the true story of four undocumented Mexican-American high school students who compete against MIT in a national underwater robotics competition. In addition to overseeing international sales of Pantelion’s own titles, Ross will rep third-party films for international sales and licensing. She will also work closely with Pantelion’s development and production teams to build a globally-focused slate. Pantelion launched in 2010. Its credits include Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S., as well as Pulling Strings, Casa De Mi Padre and From Prada to Nada.
This is the first co-production for Sony Pictures TV and Televisa under their 5-year deal announced on Monday. Original teleseries Señorita Pólvora, starring Camila Sodi, Iván Sánchez and José María de Tavira, was inspired by the real life story of a beauty queen whose alleged connections to the underworld and a romantic affair with an assassin ultimately led to her untimely demise. The series will be produced in Mexico by SPT, and will air cross multiple Televisa platforms and on UniMás in the U.S. UniMás will present the series at Univision’s upfront next Tuesday. Señorita Pólvora is also being sold across the rest of Latin America by SPT while Televisa will distribute across the east and south of Europe; SPT and Televisa will jointly distribute the series throughout the rest of the world. Señorita Pólvora follows Valentina (Sodi), a beautiful, well-to-do young women who falls for a hit man only to find out that her love, in addition to her own family, belongs to of one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels. Her explosive life and gradual descent into the world of crime is chronicled by a journalist who kindles a burning flame for the deadly beauty queen.
Sony Pictures Television and Mexican media giant Televisa have agreed to co-produce 12 series — 840 hours of television — over the next five years. The series will be produced by SPT in México using Televisa’s roster of actors and will be broadcast in México. Additionally, Univision, which carries Televisa’s content in the U.S., will air the shows on its network UniMás. As part of the agreement, SPT will handle distribution across Latin America, while Televisa will distribute across the east and south of Europe. SPT and Televisa will jointly distribute all 12 series throughout the rest of the world. “This groundbreaking agreement has Sony Pictures Television producing in one of the most important countries in the world,” said Andrea Wong, president of international production for SPT.
Pantelion Films and South Shore, the film and TV ventures of Lionsgate and Mexico’s Televisa, continue to build up their talent roster. The companies have signed a first-look film and TV deal with Wilmer Valderrama for him to develop, star in and produce feature projects for Pantelion as well as produce scripted and unscripted TV projects for South Shore. The pact expands the companies’ relationship with Valderrama, one of the stars of Pantelion’s first film, From Prada To Nada. (The company is currently riding the success of hit Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included.) The deal with Valderrama follows a similar deal Pantelion and South Shore inked last week with George Lopez and a pact with Zoe, Cisely and Marel Saldana’s Cinestar Prods. “Wilmer is a versatile acting and producing talent with strong crossover appeal to mainstream U.S. and Latino audiences,” said Paul Presburger, CEO of Pantelion Films and Managing Director of Televisa USA. Valderrama is repped by UTA and Silver Lining Entertainment.
Popular 2004 Televisa telenovela Rubí is getting an English-language adaptation via Fox. The network has put in development an hourlong series based on the telenovela. Written by Lisa Loomer, it centers on a beautiful but poor woman who will do anything to make her dream a reality and become rich – she will even give up the greatest love of her life. 20th Century Fox TV and Televisa are producing the project, executive produced by Loomer and Michael Garcia. The telenovela was a monster ratings hit when aired in the US on Univision from September 2004 to March 2005, with its two-hour finale drawing nearly 8 million viewers.
Sony Pictures Television and Spanish-language giant Televisa have signed an exclusive first-look co-production deal for scripted, unscripted and telenovela formats. Under the pact, SPT will get a first-look at all of Televisa’s scripted and unscripted formats for potential co-production worldwide, excluding the U.S. and Latin America. In turn, Televisa will get a first look at SPT scripted formats for co-production opportunities in Spain. The two companies will co-produce any new program that comes out of the partnership. This is not the first time SPT and Televisa have been in business together. In 2008, Televisa gave SPT International a 13-episode order for scripted series Los Simuladores (The Pretenders).
Rivals of Carlos Slim are protesting to government regulators his delivery of TV programming over the Web in Mexico, Bloomberg reports. Grupo Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga complained last month and TV Azteca has filed suit against Slim’s companies as well as complained to the nation’s phone regulator over Web broadcasts such as last month’s Pan American Games. Slim’s America Movil and Telefonos de Mexico are forbidden from using their networks to offer TV service under the terms of their telecommunications license that was acquired in a 1990 privatization sale. Slim has tried unsuccessfully to reverse the ban, especially as Televisa has begun offering phone and Internet service to lure away his customers.
Banning web videos without a broadcast license would also affect companies such as Netflix, which has begun streaming services in Latin America, and Mexican phone company Maxcom, which started an online TV plan in September. Jose Otero, an analyst at Signals Telecom Consulting based in Uruguay, said that “if you’re going to need a broadcasting license to offer video streaming, you’re going to need to block a lot of companies.” America Movil is already the biggest pay-TV provider across all of Latin America, with 12.5 million subscribers, mostly in Brazil, compared with DirecTV’s 10.3 million. And America Movil is moving aggressively toward delivery of pay-per-view and streaming of Hollywood movies.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC is developing an English-language remake of mega hit telenovela Soy Tu Dueña, with Jorge Zamacona (10-8: Officers On Duty) writing and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria executive producing. ABC’s version will be co-produced by Televisa, the company behind the Mexican telenovela; Lionsgate TV; and ABC Studios. It centers on a Texas heiress who loses her fortune and is forced to move back to the ranch she grew up on. Zamacona will serve as showrunner and executive produce with Longoria though her Unbelievable Entertainment, as well as Tariq Jalil, who helped put the English adaptation together, through his Intrigue banner.
Soy Tu Dueña — which means I’m Your Owner but is translated into English as “A Woman Of Steel” — itself is a remake of the 1995 telenovela La Dueña. It became a ratings sensation when it aired on Univision from June through December last year, ranking as the most-watched telenovela ever and the second-highest-rated in 18-49 on the leading Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. Toward the end of its run in December, Soy Tu Dueña posted a string of timeslot wins over its English-language competitors and led Univision to a couple of nightly wins among 18-49 — including one for the telenovela’s December 27 finale, which was the highest-rated program of the night on any U.S. broadcast network and the second-highest-rated non-sports program of the week behind an original episode of Longoria’s Desperate Housewives.
EXCLUSIVE: What if Sex and the City‘s Carrie Bradshaw was dying of cancer? That in essence is the premise of the Mexican drama series Terminales, which is being adapted by ABC Family. Lionsgate TV and Kapital Entertainment are producing the U.S. version of the Televisa format created and produced by Miguel Angel Fox, which chronicles the life of young and successful publicist April Marquez, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Writer/director/playwright Del Shores (Logo’s Sordid Lives) is writing the script for the project, which is being fast-tracked by ABC Family. Aaron Kaplan and Shores are executive producing; Paul Presburger is overseeing for Televisa. This marks the latest project based on source material for Kapital, whose three upcoming series — Fox’s Terra Nova, ABC’s Good Christina Belles and MTV’s The Inbetweeners – are all based on existing properties (short story for Terra Nova, book for GCB, and a British format for Inbetweeners). In addition to Terminales, the company also has a Miranda Lambert PI series in development at ABC Family.