Telenovela factory inks pair of pacts

Deals boost production at Colombian shingle

MADRID — Colombia’s RTI Prods., producer of landmark telenovelas “Pasion de gavilanes” and “Queen of the South,” has inked multi-year production agreements with Mexico’s Televisa and Colombian broadcast network RCN.

In a seven-year deal, RTI will produce more than 500 hours annually of programming for Televisa. This will principally be telenovelas, but every two years or so it will also include high-quality shorter series, per RTI prexy Patricio Wills.

Most shows will be produced out of Colombia and Venezuela, but some will be shot and aired in the U.S.

First novela for Televisa is “La otra cara,” a remake of Televisa’s “La usurpadora,” using Televisa scripts now being adapted by RTI. “La usurpadora” hit high ratings Stateside on Univision in 2000. The telenovela is shooting in Bogota.

“The idea is to mix a classical novela, an icon of Televisa’s library, with the different contemporary vision of RTI,” Wills said.

RTI’s RCN deal runs for three years. It kicks off with a fact-based fiction series on the Castano brothers, who built up the 65,000-man United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a bloody right-wing paramilitary force, into the biggest private army in the world.

Shows produced for Televisa will be sold internationally by Televisa Intl., those with RCN by both RCN and RTI.

The two deals take RTI to full production capacity, Wills said. He added that NBCU’s Spanish-lingo web Telemundo is maintaining its 40% stake in RTI, which turns 50 this year.

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