Starz Sets Trio of Latino-Targeted Series

Pay TV network Starz is the latest cable programmer to set its sights on Hispanic viewers by green-lighting three original productions targeting the bilingual subscriber.

Maleficio, a supernatural thriller centered on a powerful Mexican businessman who has made a deadly pact with the devil, is the first of the three shows Starz announced during the Television Critics Association Winter Tour in Pasadena, Calif.  

Maleficio is an adaptation of the telenovela El Maleficio, which originally aired in Mexico in 1983-84. Starz has partnered with Televisa USA on the new production, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said during the network’s Jan. 8 TCA presentation.

Pedro Peirano (Niño Santo) will serve as executive producer and will co-write the first episode of Maleficio with writer and producer Mauricio Katz. Peirano is perhaps best known for writing the screenplay for the film No, a 2013 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Katz most recently served as consulting producer on FX’s series The Bridge.

Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik praised Katz’s “prolific writing guiding the project,” saying that with him and Peirano on board, Maleficio “was a project we knew was worth developing.”

Starz will retain all U.S. and Canadian rights to Maleficio; Televisa USA will retain International rights.

Also at TCA, Starz announced a pair of dramas, Pour Vida, set in East Los Angeles and produced by Big Beach TV; and Santeria, a supernatural-themed series set in Cuba and executive produced by Cuban writer and director Alejandro Brugeus.

“The audience that we’re really going for is the bilingual, second generation audience,” Albrecht said. “It’s an audience that is very engaged in premium television.”

B&C reporter Jessika Walsten contributed to this story.