Starz Developing Telenovela TERESA

Starz President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht announced at today’s Starz Television Critics Association (TCA) presentation at the Beverly Hilton that Starz is developing the original series “Teresa” with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and Televisa USA, a division of the Mexican media company Grupo Televisa. Award-winning writer/producer Carlos Portugal (“East Los High,” “Pop Star,” “Meet the Browns”) will create the series and serve as showrunner.

The show, based on the highly-rated, award-winning Mexican telenovela “Teresa,” focuses on an undocumented young Latina clawing her way into the exclusive world of Los Angeles wealth. The series will chronicle her ruthless pursuit of money and power and her willingness to do anything to get them.

“We’re excited to be working with Carlos, Lionsgate and Televisa USA on re-developing this iconic telenovela for American audiences. ‘Teresa’ will showcase a modern take on what it means to be Latina in America,” said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director for Starz.

Televisa USA’s Chris Philip added, “Starz has proven to be a great programming partner and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with this updated take on a hugely successful Televisa format.”

“We’re excited about collaborating with Chris, Carmi and the team at Starz as well as our friends at Televisa USA on this powerful new series,” said Lionsgate Television Group Executive Vice President Chris Selak. “‘Teresa’ brings together terrific partners, a singular property and a world-class creative team for an audience that we know well, and we believe that the series will resonate not only with Latino viewers but audiences everywhere.”

Portugal has served as executive producer, producer and writer of several ground-breaking series. He co-created and is an executive producer, writer and director of “East Los High,” Hulu’s first and only series with an all Latino cast. He made his directorial debut with the English-language, Latino gay romantic comedy “East Side Story,” which he co-wrote with Puerto Rican playwright Charo Toledo (“The Princess Within”). Portugal also co-executive produced “Body of Desire,” a primetime drama series for NBC which was based on “El Cuerpo Del Deseo,” the hit Spanish telenovela that aired on Telemundo from 2005 to 2006. A graduate of USC film school, he began his career at KQED, San Francisco’s PBS station, where he produced “Opera in the Park,” “Comedy Tonight” and the Emmy(R) Award-winning documentary “Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Artist.”

Senior Vice President of Original Programming Marta Fernandez will be the Starz executive in charge of “Teresa.”