Electus Sells Telenovela 'Loteria' to NBC (Exclusive)

The Ligiah Villalobos-penned project joins telenovelas "Babylon" and "Black Widow" in development at the network as Ben Silverman continues his Latino push.
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Ben Silverman

Ben Silverman’s Latino love affair continues.

The Electus founder has sold telenovela Loteria to NBC, part of his studio’s three-for-one pact with the network. Under the Same Moon’s Ligiah Villalobos will pen the script, about a Mexican-American mogul who is killed in a suspicious car crash and has cut his kids out of his will. The question at the center of the potential series is whether the car crash was an accident or a plot by one of them to kill him.

Loteria joins Babylon, from Dracula’s Dan Knauf, about an exclusive club of magical women who controls high society in Los Angeles; and Black Widow, based on a Venevision telenovela centered on a woman whose last three husbands have died under mysterious circumstances. One of the three projects, all in development at NBC, likely will be granted a 13-episode order and air multiple times a week (much like Spanish-language telenovelas).

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The deal comes as Latinos, the biggest ethnic minority in the U.S., are expected to reach 25 percent of the population by 2035. Silverman staked his claim in the Latino market in 2006 with the ABC telenovela Ugly Betty, which he produced via his then-production company, Reveille, before running NBC. “It’s been a community that I’ve always felt super connected to, growing up with a father in [New York’s] Washington Heights. I fell in love with their artists and stories,” he tells THR of a demo he says is underserved.

Electus also is adapting a Venezuela telenovela, Jane the Virgin, at The CW, and has Killer Women, based on an Argentine crime drama, coming to ABC in early January, with Sofia Vergara joining Silverman as an executive producer. The former, written by Emily Owens M.D. creator Jennie Snyder Urman, is about a hard-working, religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. The latter centers on a recently divorced woman, former beauty queen and a daughter of a sheriff who rises to the top ranks of one of the most elite, male-dominated law enforcement establishments around.

Silverman’s Latino portfolio extends to film, too, where he is a producer on the Roberto Duran biopic Hands of Stone, starring Robert De Niro. He was on location in Panama this month.

Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com