Disney plan speaks to Latin audiences

Studio adds 'Grey's,' 'Girls' to its' redo list

The Mouse House is ramping up the reversioning of scripted and unscripted skeins in Latin America, following its first forays with “Desperate Housewives” and reality show “Extreme Makeover.”

Production of the Colombian version of “Grey’s Anatomy” kicks off this month to be followed by a Mexican remake for No. 2 web TV Azteca in September. Both will be shot in Bogota, Colombia, at the studios of RCN TV and Vista Prods., the production partners of Disney Media Networks Latin America on this skein.

Thanks to the global success of multi-Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire,” Disney has also landed a commitment from Azteca to make quiz show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which features prominently in the pic.

“We’d been shopping the format rights to Mexico ever since we got them back from Televisa, which never developed it after acquiring the rights in 1999,” says Fernando Barbosa, senior VP of Disney Media Networks.

Company will tape the Mexican version of the quizzer at web RCTV’s purpose-built studios in Caracas, Venezuela, where “Millionaire” is the longest-running quiz show in Latin America.

“We found this to be more cost-efficient than to build and maintain a set in Mexico,” says Barbosa.

Disney is also in pre-production on the pan-Latin American version of “The Golden Girls” with two thesps from Mexico, one from Colombia and another from Cuba playing the roles of the four femme housemates. Plans are to start shooting the skein in Caracas by September.

Meanwhile reality competition “The Amazing Race” has been shooting in various undisclosed locations around the region.

Produced with Discovery Networks, skein will air later this year on Discovery Channel Latin America and subsequently on terrestrial webs across the region, including Azteca, RCN and Artear Argentina.

Disney’s had mixed success with its remakes.

Its Colombian version of “Extreme Makeover” ran for four to five seasons between 2003 and 2007.

The four Latino versions of “Desperate Housewives” had varying success rates. All four were shot in a purpose-built Wisteria Lane, renamed Calle Manzanares, in Argentina.

In Brazil, where the Portuguese version “Donas de casas desesperadas” played on No. 4 web Rede TV, skein could not compete with content put out by market juggernaut Globo TV.

The Spanish-language version, “Amas de casas desesperadas,” aimed at U.S. auds via Univision and Spanish auds via Azteca, only scored middling numbers.

However, Argentina’s Artear TV is mulling a second season of the skein.

The Colombian version, which posted high ratings on RCN and on Ecuador’s Teleamazonas, is going on to a second season.

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