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The telenovela that plays a key role in Jane the Virgin‘s first season is getting its own backstory.
The CW has turned The Passions of Santos, the television series that stars Jane’s father Rogelio (Jaime Camil), into a short novel that is being released chapter-by-chapter on online writing community Wattpad.
In the fictional telenovela — which Jane (Gina Rodriguez) works on during part of the first season — Rogelio stars as Santos, the president of North Ecuaduras whose love for Blanca places him in all manner of compromising situations. The novel, also named The Passions of Santos, explains how Santos and Blanca first met and then details their torrid affair and subsequent discovery by Blanca’s father.
The first chapter of the multi-part novel was released on Wattpad on Sept. 29. The second chapter was made available on Oct. 6. The CW says remaining chapters will roll out over the next few weeks tied to Jane the Virgin‘s season two premiere on Monday, Oct. 12.
“We thought Wattpad was the perfect fit for Jane the Virgin,” explains Caty Burgess, senior vp media strategies at the CW. “Jane the character is an aspiring writer and Wattpad is a great platform for people who want to share their writing with the world. We’re excited to go beyond a 30-second TV ad and figure out ways to engage our fans and potential fans and reward them with extra content.”
Because Jane’s first season includes ongoing plot points from The Passions of Santos, The CW enlisted the help of showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and her writers room to craft the story for the novel. “One of the terrific things about the show is the particular and unique and hilarious voice that Jennie has,” says Burgess, explaining that her voice continues into the novel.
The Passions of Santos is being released on Wattpad in both English and Spanish, a first for the online platform, in a nod to the telenovela’s rich history as a Spanish language art form. “We wanted to be true to that voice and to do something that would appeal to our bilingual and multicultural audience,” says Burgess.
Jane the Virgin is itself a take on the classic telenovela format that features a hybrid of humor and drama. The series even has a narrator, known as the Latin Lover (Anthony Mendez), who often breaks the fourth wall to wink at the audience. The show has also embraced the use of technology, showing Jane’s text message conversations and often featuring Twitter hashtags that are part of a larger punch line.
The partnership, which was negotiated by Ignition Factory on behalf of The CW, is one of many partnerships that Wattpad has inked with entertainment partners over the last year, including projects for Comedy Central’s Another Period and comedy film The Duff. “Not only is this our first time working with The CW, but it is a first to have screenwriters from Jane the Virgin get a chance to reimagine their own property, and do it in both English and Spanish languages to reach millions of fans who love this hit series,” says Shawn Gold, head of Wattpad’s entertainment brand partnerships.
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