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SAN SEBASTIAN – Driving into higher-end international drama under Chris Philip, tapped Jan. 2015 to head up production-distribution, Televisa USA is teaming with Latica Media to adapt and co-produce TV series format “Gran Hotel.”

From an original screenplay by Stephen Kornish (“24,” “Kennedys”), Televisa USA’s “Gran Hotel” will be transposed from the original’s Spanish Belle Epoque milieu to the licentious 1950s pre-Castro Havana. Series will be shot at Lantica’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.

Lantica are now set to co-develop and co-finance multiple projects with global producer-distributor Televisa USA.

“We are thrilled to be in business with Televisa USA on this and future projects, said Antonio Gennari, CEO of Lantica Media.

A romantic murder mystery melding danger and passion, Televisa USA’s “Gran Hotel” 1950s Havana will forseebly amp up format’s crime gristle and licentiousness: Many Havana hotels were built by the mob, including Cuban kingpin Meyer Lansky, taking advantage of lax Cuban gambling laws.

In plot, “Gran Hotel” will turn on Julio who, following his sister’s disappearance, ends up searching for her at the opulent Gran Hotel in Havana, where he falls into the arms of the sexy daughter of its wealthy owner.

“It was a time when mobsters, politicians and celebrities flocked to Havana, the world’s most exotic and permissive playground,” said Philip.

He added: “Setting ‘Gran Hotel’ in a sexy, sinful atmosphere offers up a rich fusion of glamour and intrigue deeply rooted in an exceptional murder mystery format with a proven global footprint.”

With “Gran Hotel,” Televisa USA has alighted on a format with a proven but not totally exploited international foot-peint.

“Gran Hotel will add to a dramatic ramp-up in Dominican Republic’s film and TV sectors, galavanized by generous tax credits of up to 25% on eligible above- and below-the-line expenditure.

Originated by Ramon Campos and Gema R. Neira at Spain’s Bambu Producciones – one of the leading International TV production houses in Spain which, with Atresmedia, is now producing “Refugees” with BBC Worldwide – “Gran Hotel” ran for three seasons on Atresmedia over 2011-13, punching a first season 18.5% audience share. Sold and co-produced by Beta Film, the Italian reversion currently airs on RAI primetime in Italy. Original has broadcast on major Gallic broadcaster M6, U.K.’s Sky Arts and, in the U.S. on VmeTV.

Beta Film svp Christina Gockel describes “Gran Hotel” as one of Beta’s “biggest sales hits and franchises of recent years.”