One of the biggest deals to come out of NATPE this week was for Lionsgate to team up with Mexican TV giant (and Univision part-owner) Televisa to create English language content for the US television market.
The collaboration was announced by Lionsgate Co-Chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer and Televisa President and CEO Emilio Azcarraga Jean.
The alliance expands the partnership of Lionsgate and Televisa, which already have a joint film venture, Pantelion Films, launched in 2010 to acquire and distribute feature films for the Hispanic market in the US.
The new television partnership will include the development of scripted and unscripted English language original programming as well as format adaptations from Televisa’s vast library of thousands of titles, including the leading telenovelas in the world to be produced in English. It includes a significant development fund designed to attract quality talent to approximately six to eight projects a year.
Several projects are already in the pipeline, including: “From Prada to Nada,” Pantelion’s debut film which is being developed as a comedy TV series; “Badlands,” a scripted drama at ABC in partnership with ABC Studios based on Televisa’s runaway hit “Soy tu Duena,” a successful telenovela; the poignant “Terminales” for ABC Family; and “Teresa,” based on another hit Televisa telenovela.
“Televisa is one of the greatest programming forces in the world, and they have consistently shown the ability not only to serve Latino audiences but to reach viewers around the world with exciting, entertaining and compelling content,” said Feltheimer. “I’ve known Emilio Azcarraga and Pepe Baston for many years, and I’m delighted to extend our Pantelion Films relationship into the US television market as well.”
“We’re thrilled to extend and expand our relationship with Jon Feltheimer, Steve Beeks and the rest of the Lionsgate management team,” said Azcarraga. “We believe that our proven success in creating exportable content for markets around the world, coupled with a strong, savvy and experienced local partner in Lionsgate, is a winning formula for establishing a strong presence among viewers in the U.S. English speaking television market.”
Azcarraga and Feltheimer noted that the new venture would focus on programming with “a Latin feel and U.S. appeal.”
Lionsgate and Televisa have also joined forces to identify original and exciting creative voices that will resonate with the hip young audience in the US and will support the companies’ film and TV partnerships. They have created the Lionsgate and Televisa Fund For Student Support at the USC School of Cinematic Arts to “support, encourage and educate new voices” by providing assistance to underrepresented minority students studying screenwriting and TV and film production at USC. The fund will provide tuition assistance and an internship opportunity at Pantelion Films to two USC graduate students a year for the next three years.