Emilio Estefan, the filmmaker, author and Grammy-winning producer behind Miami Sound Machine, Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, is venturing into television through an overall deal with 20th Television.
Under the pact, he will create and executive produce a Latino-themed drama series with the goal to put the project into the studio’s development pipeline in the fall.
“Emilio Estefan’s eye for talent, taste in material and brilliant creative instincts have made him one of the most accomplished producers of our times, and we are excited to be in business with him,” 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden said in a joint statement. “Reaching out to all audiences, including the Latino audience, is a critical priority for this studio as we look for that next big international hit. Emilio has a vision for a dramatic series that combines great storytelling with an authenticity in terms of Latino culture that we think every network will want on their schedule. We can’t wait to begin the development process with him.”
Estefan created Miami Sound Machine, which launched the career of his wife, Gloria Estefan, and shaped and directed the careers of throngs of other top Latino performers including Shakira, Marc Anthony and Jon Secada. He has more than 30 Grammy nominations and 19 wins. The 20th pact would create Estefan’s first scripted drama after he produced television events including the Latin Grammys, the Hispanic Heritage Awards and Nuestra Navidad as well as musical efforts on HBO and Showtime.
“Through the years, we’ve seen a lot of misconceptions — the roles Hispanics play has been predictable,” Estefan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of the things they usually have related to Latinos were prostitutes, housekeepers or drug dealers. I feel this will definitely bring a lot of hope and respect to a lot of new generation actors to be able to play any kind of role.”
Estefan — who was appointed by President Obama to the committee that will create the first National Museum of the American Latino — noted he sees the drama as being part telenovela, the format made popular on Latino-themed networks including Univision and Telemundo, and that he hopes the project would be something “totally different for the industry.”
Estefan in 2010 penned his autobiography, The Rhythm of Success: How an Immigrant Produced His Own American Dream, which became a best-seller. His film credits include producing and directing 90 Millas, which explored the history of Cuban music and screened at the Tribeca, Dubai and Miami film festivals.
Estefan’s pact comes weeks after Martin inked a talent holding deal with NBCUniversal that will see him develop his own starring vehicle for network television and days before Gloria Estefan makes her debut as a mentor on The CW’s music competition series The Next.