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Starz CEO talks of plans to reach Latino viewers with three new projects

Starz CEO talks of plans to reach Latino viewers with three new projects
Chris Albrecht, the CEO of Starz, speaks onstage during the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Starz is looking to better reach Latino audiences and has three new projects in the works adapted from Spanish-language formats.

During the network's session of morning panels Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht announced the network's new focused effort to attract Latino viewers.

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The move comes at a time when networks are striving for more diversity to appeal to underserved audiences. Starz has found success reaching African American audiences with its series "Power" and "Survivor's Remorse."

To better go after the Latino viewer, the network has three projects in development — and all boast Latino creators, writers and producers.

The network is partnering with Televisa USA, a division of Mexican media company Grupo Televisa, to develop "Malefecio," which is based on the popular Mexican telenovela that originally aired in the early '80s. The supernatural thriller will center on a powerful Mexican businessman who has made a deadly pact with the devil. Writer and producer Mauricio Katz ("Niño Santo," "The Bridge") will serve as showrunner. Pedro Peirano ("No," "Niño Santo") will serve as executive producer and will co-write the first episode with Katz.

There's also "Santeria," an idea from Cuban writer-director Alejandro Brugues ("From Dusk Till Dawn"), that also lives in the supernatural world. The Cuba-set series, according to a release on the project, centers on two undercover agents who investigate a bizarre murder. Tension arises from the complex relationship between the Cuban people and Santeria, the ancient religion born on the island of Cuba.

And "Pour Vida" is a half-hour series that follows the Hernandez sisters, who inherit a building in East Los Angeles from their deceased aunt and plan to open a wine bar — and in the process, according to Starz's description, they attempt to "put the 'gente' in the 'gentefication' of the historic barrio." Big Beach TV's Marc Turtletaub ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Dan Pasternack and Erin Keating ("Portlandia") will produce.

Albrecht said he "imagines" that the shows will be bilingual, given that the aim is to target the growing bilingual, second-generation audience. (We write more about the demographic's role in shifting Spanish-language TV habits here.)

"It's an audience that is hard to corral because there are a lot of cultural elements there," Albrecht said. "But I think it's an audience if we lean into them a little bit, we can show them that Starz has them on our minds."

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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