Colombian telenovela breaks into Italian market

Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset is producing an Italian adaptation of hit Colombian telenovela “Sin tetas no hay paraiso” (Without Breasts There Is No Paradise), in what is being touted as a big breakthrough for the Latin American TV industry in Italy.

Mediaset, which is the top Italian commercial broadcaster, started shooting this week in Buenos Aires on the bestselling format focused on a young woman determined to get bigger breasts in order to escape poverty.

Mediaset purchased the format from Colombia’s Canal Caracol, where the skein has scored stellar ratings and sparked controversy over its depiction of women and Colombian culture.

Outside of Colombia, “Sin tetas” has already been adapted by NBC Universal, which bowed it on its Spanish-lingo channel, Telemundo, Monday night and by Spain’s Mediaset-controlled Telecinco. Four other adaptations are reportedly in the works.

Lisette Caracol, international director of Caracol TV, enthused about the Mediaset deal, calling it a “momentous step for Colombian television because it is the first Latin format to reach Italian television.”

The Italian version of “Sin tetas” is being reworked by Grundy Italia, the Italo unit of FreemantleMedia, which also adapted the format for Telecinco. Colombian-born but Italy-based thesp Nathaly Rapti Gomez (“Ex”) stars as an impoverished young woman enmeshed in a world of drug dealing, prostitution and breast implants. It is scheduled to air next year on Mediaset flagship station Canale 5.

A film version is in post, directed by Gustavo Bolivar, author of the book on which the series is based. He is in talks with distributors for its simultaneous release in Colombia, Mexico, Spain and the U.S. in May.

(Anna Marie de la Fuente in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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