Series centers on drug queen in Spain

MADRID — Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 has taken a minority co-production stake in telenovela “La Reina del sur,” produced by NBC Universal’s Telemundo.

Based on the 2002 bestseller by Spanish author Arturo Perez-Reverte, “La Reina” turns on a Mexican woman who becomes the reigning drug smuggler in Spain.

Telemundo will produce the 50- to 70-episode telenovela via its Colombia-based subsid RTI Prods.

It will also make a 13-episode version for Antena 3 to air in primetime with its own script, but sharing cast and crew with the telenovela format, per Antena 3 head of fiction Sonia Martinez.

Antena 3 takes Spanish broadcast rights to both “La Reina” TV versions and shares international rights with Telemundo, Martinez added.

Mexican actress Kate del Castillo (“Weeds,” “Bordertown”) is attached to play the lead.

“La Reina” will be delivered by first quarter 2011.

News was announced at Mip TV in Cannes.

Deal strengthens an already close relationship between Telemundo and Antena 3, which includes the redo for Spain of Telemundo’s hit telenovela “Pasion de gavilanes,” produced by Gestmusic-Endemol.

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