‘Cane’ creator finds sweet spot

Cidre receives Norman Lear Writer's Award

As creator and executive producer of CBS’ upcoming serial “Cane,” Cynthia Cidre is responsible for the first Latino-themed drama on a broadcast network.

“People don’t realize that the real power is behind the camera, and that’s why it’s especially important for Latino writers like Cynthia to be recognized,” says Imagen Foundation topper Helen Hernandez.

Starring Jimmy Smits, Hector Elizondo and Rita Moreno, “Cane” chronicles three generations of a Cuban-American family who own a sugar and rum empire.

“Cynthia has a unique voice that transcends cultural specificity,” says Smits. “But within her writer’s arsenal is a vivid sensibility of the Latino culture in the United States.”

Cidre says CBS programming chief Nina Tassler supported the minority-driven ensemble piece from the first pitch. Tassler even encouraged Cidre to change the family from wealthy Mexicans in the food industry.

“Nina, who’s half Puerto Rican, said, ‘You’re Cuban — write what you know,’ ” Cidre says. Cidre was inspired by her father, a sugar chemist, to make sugar cane the family’s fortune.

She says, though, that she doesn’t want to alienate viewers who don’t know their mojitos from margaritas.

“It’s a family show that happens to be about Latinos,” she says. “It’s not a Latino show.”

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