Villarruel, Llorente launch TV production company

Claudio Villarruel and Bernarda Llorente have quit as chief programmers at leading Argentine broadcaster Telefe after 10 years to form a production company, with plans for a telepic, a telenovela and a fiction series for Mexico.

Telefe vet producer Marisa Badia takes over as head of programming effective Jan. 1.

Villarruel and Llorente ran content at the long-running ratings leader through the country’s 2001-02 economic crisis. Under them, Telefe produced and aired edgier corruption-laden crime dramas “Resistire” (Forever Julia); “Montecristo,” a revenge tale that delved into the country’s 1976-83 military dictatorship; and “Vidas robadas” (Taking Lives). Fox remade “Forever Julia” as “Watch Over Me” for the U.S.

For 2010, Llorente and Villarruel’s On TV will produce “Los otros” (The Others), a four-episode telepic on discrimination; a primetime telenovela starring Facundo Arana; and an original novela for an undisclosed net in Mexico. Telefe has already picked up “The Others” and the Arana soap for 2010.

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