×

Mun2 nabs ‘Fugitivos’

NBCU cabler makes move into reality

NBCUniversal cabler Mun2 is going after a big fish with its latest original series, bounty-hunter reality skein “Fugitivos de la Ley: Los Angeles.”

The cabler that blends Spanish- and English-lingo programming is hoping to reach beyond its Latino niche and appeal more broadly to fans of gritty law enforcement reality shows. Think “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and “Cops.”

“Fugitivos” follows a team of federal agents led by former Marine Luis Fernandez who are tasked with hunting down bail jumpers and other fugitives in the L.A. area. The show incorporates reenactments to detail the background of the cases that spark each pursuit.

Mun2 has ordered 24 hourlong episodes of “Fugitivos,” which is an ambitious production for the cabler. The series, which bows Jan. 13 at 8 p.m., is an example of Mun2’s effort to program more original weekly skeins in primetime, in contrast to the telenovela strip sudser formats that are a staple of Spanish-lingo TV. And it’s a sign that NBCUniversal brass are making good on promises to invest more in programming and marketing for the Peacock’s Spanish-lingo media assets.

“This is a reality great way to bring action and reality to our schedule,” said Flavio Morales senior veep of programming and production, of “Fugitivos.” “We can position this type of show not just for one audience. This show can attract the Spanish-dominant viewers as well as English-dominant.”

An earlier incarnation of “Fugitivos” aired on smaller domestic Spanish-lingo broadcast network Azteca America. Mun2 initially licensed the rerun rights to those episodes, which performed consistently well for the cabler.

Morales and Moises Velez, Mun2 exec in charge of production, reached out to exec producer Lou Pizarro to order new episodes. A bigger budget and broader scope allowed Mun2 to put its stamp on the show from Pizarro’s EGA Prods., Velez said.

One element that was crucial to Mun2 was the portrayal of Fernandez and his team — comprised of ex-cop Roman Morales, former Marine Jason Rouswell, bail enforcement agent Monique Covarrubias and firefighter Roman de la Torre — as professionals who help take dangerous felons off the street.

“In many shows the only portrayal of Latino characters are in a negative context. Usually we’re on the other side of the handcuffs,” Flavio Morales said. “Here is an opportunity to really show us as heroes. And this cast really reflects the wide (ethnic) spectrum of Latinos in the U.S.”

Covarrubias’ role is important as she is a shining example of a strong femme excelling in a male-dominated field, Velez said.

“She not taking any (grief) from the fugitives, and she’s not taking it from the team either,” Velez said.

The language in “Fugitivos” shifts freely between English and Spanish, depending on the case. Pizarro has plenty of experience moving back and forth between Espanol and English. About six years ago he began producing a reality series about repossession agents, “Operacion Repo,” for L.A.’s Spanish-lingo indie KWHY-TV.

That show caught the attention of programmers at Turner cabler TruTV, which tapped Pizarro to spearhead an English-lingo rendition, “Operation Repo,” a mainstay for the cabler since 2007. And Mun2 and its sibling Telemundo network both air older “Operacion Repo” segs.

The launch of “Fugitivos” comes as Mun2 is facing more competition for Latino viewers, from broadcast and cable outlets. NBCU cable and digital exec Lauren Zalaznick, who oversees Telemundo and Mun2, has been a big supporter of their efforts to broaden Mun2’s horizons, Morales said.

“With the support of Telemundo and Lauren Zalaznick, we’re focusing wherever we can on building originals,” he said. “That’s very much a standard from the cable playbook but in our competitive set we’re not seeing that much original content being produced. (NBCU parent) Comcast is supporting our initiatives.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

  • Peter Fonda Dead: 'Easy Rider' Star

    Peter Fonda, Star of 'Easy Rider,' Dies at 79

    Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote, produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie “Easy Rider,” then showed Hollywood he could act about three decades later in “Ulee’s Gold,” died on Friday from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His sister Jane Fonda [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content