Starz Targeting Latino Audiences With Three New Projects

Chris Albrecht - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Chris Albrecht - H 2015

Starz is expanding its focus on underserved communities.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht announced Friday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that it is making a major push for Latino viewers and adapting three Spanish-language formats, all from Hispanic creators, writers and producers.

In development are Maleficio, based on the popular Mexican production that originally aired in 1983-84 with 320 episodes and was one of the most successful telenovelas of all time; Pour Vida, inspired by a by Richard Villegas Jr. short story; and Santeria, an original idea produced by The Blair Witch creators.

The move comes as Starz has found success in reaching African-American audiences with Power — its highest-rated series — and Survivor's Remorse; and women, with Outlander, Flesh and Bone as well as The White Queen.

"The audience we're going for is the bilingual, second-generation audience," Albrecht said from the TCA stage during his executive session. "It's an audience that is hard to corral because there are a lot of different cultural elements there. It's an audience that is very engaged in premium television, but it's an audience that if we lean into them a little we can show them that Starz has them on our minds."

The projects join Antonio Banderas-starring detective drama Havana Quartet, based on the book series by Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura.

Here's a closer look at all three projects:
Maleficio, an hourlong drama, is a co-production between Starz and Televisa USA. It's a supernatural thriller that centers on Don Enrique De Martino, a powerful Mexican businessman who has made a deadly pact with the devil. Writer-producer Mauricio Katz (The Bridge) will serve as showrunner. Pedro Peirano will executive produce and co-write the first episode with Katz.
• Pour Vida, a half-hour dramedy, follows the Hernandez sisters who inherit a building in East L.A. and attempt to open a wine bar. Big Beach TV's Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine), Dan Pasternack and Erin Keating (Portlandia) produce.
Santeria is a supernatural drama that centers on two undercover agents who investigate a bizarre murder. The drama explores the complex relationship between the Cuban people and Santeria, the ancient religion born on the island of Cuba. Cuban writer-director Alejandro Brugues (From Dusk Till Dawn) and Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, From Dusk Till Dawn) will executive produce and direct with Gregg Hale (The Blair Witch Project) on board as an EP.  

The push comes as diversity continues to be a major priority as broadcast, cable networks and streaming services look to court new viewers and produce content that better reflects society.