You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brazil’s Gullane, Universal Channel Team on ‘Basic Health Center’

Collaboration on flagship Brazilian medical drama a sign of Universal’s now large involvement in Brazilian TV production

Fresh off its Sundance actress prize and Berlin Panorama Audience Award for “The Second Mother,” Gullane Filmes, run by Fabiano and Caio Gullane and a Brazilian movie powerhouse, is partnering with Universal Channel in Brazil on a groundbreaking medical drama: eight-seg half-hour fiction series “Basic Health Center.”

Universal Channel, one of the three channels operated by Universal Networks in Brazil, a joint venture with Brazilian pay TV operator Globosat, has taken rights to the whole of Latin America. Coming in early on the series, Universal Channel is also working as a commissioning editor, helping Gullane with development, said Paulo Barata, CEO of Universal Networks in Brazil.

Gullane’s flagship TV series, which is also produced in partnership with Brazil’s biggest state incentive program, the Sectorial Audiovisual Fund, “Basic Health Center” shows Brazilian companies beginning to address Brazil’s liberal professions, moving away from the inter-class romance staple of telenovelas and indeed favela thrillers as the country’s middle classes have swelled over the last decade.

“Health/hospital issues have been rarely addressed in Brazilian television dramas. We are very pleased to be developing this unprecedented fiction series in association with Universal,” said producer Caio Gullane, who is pictured with brother Fabiano.

Middle-class B/C audiences make up about 60% of Brazil’s pay TV base, Barata pointed out.

Gullane Filmes’ other movie credits include the first two parts of franchise “Till Luck Do Us Part,” Brazil’s highest-grossing local films in 2012 and 2014; “Amazonia,” which closed the 2013 Venice Festival; and “A Wolf at the Door,” one of the bestselling titles for IM Global/Canana j.v. sales co Mundial.

Based on true-life events, the fiction series unspools at a Basic Health Center – a kind of basic attention doctor’s office — on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. It centers on the clash between Dr. Paulo, who’s been working at the center for 15 years, and newcomer Laura, and plumbs moral and ethical questions by contrasting their attitudes to medical treatment, as well as exploring patients’ family backgrounds, which can lead to an understanding of the cause of their illness.

Series creator and screenwriter is Newton Cannito, whose credits include episodes of 02 Filmes-produced “City of Men” and homicide squad drama “9mm: Sao Paulo,” plus a feature film, favela-set drama “Broder.”

“Basic Health Center’s” director is Carlos Cortez, whose orphan drama “Quero” scooped four prizes at the 2006 Brasilia Film Festival. It was co-written with Luis Bolognesi, who topped Annecy in 2014 with “Rio 2096,” and Braulio Mantovani, Oscar-nommed for the screenplay of “City of God.”

Scheduled to start shooting mid-April, the series, which rolls off research with health-care professionals, is currently casting, said Caio Gullane.

Currently Universal Networks is developjng five series in Brazil – a sign of just how actively involved Hollywood studios are in TV production in Latin America’s biggest territory. Beyond “Basic Health Center,” Universal Networks — which also operates in Brazil both Studio Universal, a film-only channel, and SyFy – is developing procedural “Jungle Pilot,” revolving around a group of pilots operating a small flight company in the Amazon; “171,” a comedy turning on a conman family father; “Friend for Rent,” about an actor suffering stage and camera panic; and “The Incredible Cinelab,” a non-scripted series about very inexpensive special effects.

“Series can connect to our brand, our differential,” Barata argued. Obliged by a 2011 quota to air 3.5 primetime hours of Brazilian content weekly, Hollywood majors’ pay TV channels challenge in Brazil is double-fold: How Brazilian series can sit on their grid besides their U.S. fare; and marketing the local shows when local audiences are sometimes very limited.

With “Basic Health Center” and the other Universal projects, Barata said he saw no problem on either count. “We have a tradition of medical series, having aired ‘House’ for many years. Also, our tagline is ‘100% Character,’ and ‘Basic Health Center’ has two strong characters: a more humane and sensitive doctor and a younger one who is more technical and cold, believing that is enough. These different approaches form a major source of conflict.”

Universal Channel is also one of the top 10 channels in Brazilian pay TV, targeting a broad male and female 18-49 audience. It can also leverage crucial cross-promotion across channels at Globosat, by far the biggest pay TV operator in Brazil. Another strong Universal launch platform is social networks. Universal has more than 1 million Facebook followers, Barata commented.

More TV

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    How 'Lady and the Tramp' Remake Solved Its 'Siamese Cat Song' Problem

    Janelle Monáe sings two songs, including the classic “He’s a Tramp,” in the live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” among the most talked-about of the new offerings on the Disney Plus streaming service. But the biggest challenge for her writing and producing team, Nate “Rocket” Wonder and Roman GianArthur of Wondaland Productions, turned out [...]

  • CBS Sunday Morning Charles Osgood Final

    Mo Rocca Has an Unusual Career Recipe. Now He's Adding Obits to the Mix

    Spend half an hour with Mo Rocca and prepare for a conversation that veers into the unexpected. Perhaps he will discuss the differences between the characters of Dr. Seuss and the Muppets of Jim Henson (“It turns out they are oil and water. Seuss is head. Muppets are heart”). Maybe he will talk about Carl [...]

  • Busbee and Maren Morris

    Busbee Gets Posthumous CMA Award; Maren Morris Calls Album Win 'Bittersweet'

    The late producer-songwriter Busbee won his first CMA Award Wednesday night, as the primary producer of Maren Morris’ sophomore release, “Girl,” which picked up album of the year at the ceremony. Busbee, who died Sept. 29 at age 43, was saluted in the telecast first by Blake Shelton and then, later and more emotionally, by [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Joins MasterClass Roster for Course on Business Strategy and Leadership

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has signed on to the MasterClass digital education service, offering a course in business strategy and leadership. The course, available as of Thursday, will detail Iger’s view on the importance of taking bold steps and embracing mistakes in business. Iger also promises to dig into “case studies” of some of Disney’s [...]


    Argentina's Murillo Cine Exposes Femicide In TV Drama 'Vertientes del Paraná'

    Argentina’s Murillo Cine, whose credits take in Cannes sidebar entries “The Snatch Thief” and “Land of Ashes,” is dipping its toe into TV drama production with “Vertientes del Paraná,” a miniseries project exposing the social tragedy of femicide, from writer-director María Florencia Álvarez. Álvarez turned heads with her 2013 feature debut, “Habi la Extranjera,” a [...]

  • Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's

    Viacom Chief Bob Bakish Talks Paramount's Rebound, Pluto TV Growth

    Viacom chief Bob Bakish took a short victory lap on Thursday during the company’s final quarterly earnings call before the completion of its merger with CBS Corp., which is expected to be sealed early next month. Bakish talked up the return of Paramount Pictures to profitability for the first time in four years, and the [...]

  • Ofanny Choi

    Ofanny Choi to Head Celestial Tiger, Replacing Todd Miller

    Veteran TV executive Ofanny Choi has been promoted to president of Celestial Tiger Entertainment. She replaces CEO Todd Miller, who will leave the company. Backed by Saban Capital, Lionsgate and Malaysia’s Astro Overseas, Hong Kong-based Celestial Tiger operates a bouquet of Asian pay-TV channels. It also produces original production for its bouquet of channels. Having [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content