‘Lalola’ buzzing in Argentina

'Ugly Betty' type show nabs 15 presale deals

BUENOS AIRES — Even before its bow on Argentina’s America TV last week, local telenovela “Lalola,” hyped as the next “Ugly Betty,” had secured 15 presale deals, a record for Argentina.

The series will topline the Dori Media Group’s portfolio at Mipcom in Cannes next month.

“It is a new type of telenovela,” says Silvana D’Angelo, who helped close the deals as head of international sales and marketing at Dori Media Distribution Argentina.

Instead of the traditional rich-poor love story, “Lalola” follows a womanizer who must endure the abuse he used to dole out after he is turned into a woman. It takes place in the world of jet-set executives with the latest in cell phones and technology.

“It has a lot of elements of series like ‘Lost’ and ’24,’ ” with edgier stories, faster tempos and situations that are real for executives, D’Angelo says.

“This is more appealing to a lot of networks. They want to reach a younger, higher-class audience.”

The story, with an initial 120 episodes, is the brainchild of Sebastian Ortega, a producer behind hits including “Los Roldan” (The Roldans) and cult favorites about hackers, prisoners, psychos and thirtysomethings. His Underground Contenidos is co-producing “Lalola” with the Tel Aviv-based Dori Media Group.

The ready-to-roll version of “Lalola,” which airs five nights a week, has been sold to Caribevision for Miami and New York and networks in markets including Mexico, Venezuela and Russia with Chile, France and others picking up format rights, D’Angelo says.

DMG plans to do a 26-episode weekly version of “Lalola” to sell to nets in the U.S., Western Europe and Asia that generally don’t schedule daily fiction or series of more than 60 episodes, she says.

“It is a way of getting into the market to then sell telenovelas,” she says, adding that miniseries have stronger potential for DVD sales.

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