'Queen of the South' Picked Up to Series at USA Network

Alice Braga - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Alice Braga - H 2014

USA Network is moving forward with Queen of the South.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has given a series order to the telenovela based on international best-seller La Reina Del Sur, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Arturo Perez-Reverte's international hit has already yielded a series of the same name for USA corporate sibling Telemundo. USA's series will debut in 2016.

The Fox 21 Television Studios and Universal Cable Productions drama centers on Teresa Mendoza (City of God's Alice Braga). When her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico, Teresa is forced to seek refuge in America, where she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. In the process, she learns the tools of the trade and strategically positions herself to become the leader of the cartel.

M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller (The Final Girls) penned the script and exec produce alongside David Friendly (Little Miss Sunshine) and Pancho Mansfield (Damien). Charlotte Sieling directed the pilot. A showrunner is expected to be announced soon.

"From script to inception, Queen of the South had us hooked,” USA president Chris McCumber said. "Alice Braga does an outstanding job playing Teresa Mendoza, a determined woman who defies all odds, to not only survive, but to thrive in an unfamiliar world. The novel has been embraced around the globe, and the telenovela broke records — now we’re looking forward to sharing this unique version of her story on USA."

Queen marks the fourth drama from USA's 2014-15 development slate to go to series, joining Complications and Mr. Robot, both due in June, as well as Colony. (Jennifer Carpenter starrer Stanistan and Evil Men were developed from the same crop, with Queen edging out the latter).
Queen joins a growing roster of dramas at USA that also includes Satisfaction, Suits, Royal Pains, Graceland and comedy Donny.

Meanwhile, USA has several pilots still in contention including Aaron Korsh's Paradise Pictures; Falling Water, a UCP thriller from the late Henry Bromell (Homeland), Blake Masters and Gale Anne Hurd; and UCP and Paramount's Shooter, based on the 2007 feature and exec produced by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

Telenovelas have become a hot genre on both broadcast and cable networks. The CW has found critical and awards season success with Jane the Virgin and NBC will launch Eva Longoria starrer Hot & Bothered next season.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit