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Fox Networks Group España to Produce Its First Fiction Series in Spain

MADRID – Moving into local fiction production in Spain, Fox Networks Group España will team with TV drama producer Globomedia, part of Spain’s Mediapro Group, to produce Season 3 of “Vis a Vis” (“Locked Up”).

Seasons 1 and 2 of “Vis a Vis,” a women’s prison drama-thriller, aired on Antena 3, the flagship channel of Atresmedia, one of Spain’s two biggest free-to-air TV networks, along with Mediaset España.

Fox Networks Group, which operates the two basic-cable channels Fox and Fox Life in Spain, will bow Season 3 in 2018, FNG España, Atresmedia and Globomedia announced Thursday.

Though Fox has produced local lifestyle shows in Spain such as “Fit Life,” “Vis a Vis” marks its first TV drama there.

Daniel Perez, FNG España director general, said in a statement that FNG had “reiterated on repeated occasions” that it wanted to produce fiction in Spain and had now found the show.

“The step that we’re taking with ‘Vis a Vis’ is a strategic move for our operation in the Iberian Peninsula to reinforce our position of leadership in pay-TV entertainment in Spain,” said Vera Pereira, executive vice president of FNG Iberia. She said that “Vis a Vis” would give Fox “larger visibility and relevance in the local market.”

Debuting in April 2015 on Antena 3, “Vis a Vis” turns on Macarena Ferreiro (Maggie Civantos), a young woman framed by her lover-boss for corporate fraud. She ends up in Spain’s notorious Cruz del Sur penitentiary, surrounded by ruthless convicts.

After her cellmate ends up brutally killed, Macarena becomes part of a multimillion-dollar holdup in a desperate attempt to turn her life around.

The first season of “Vis a Vis” garnered excellent reviews in Spain – “a small step for man, a large step for Spanish television,” one read –  and punched a spectacular average 19.9% and 3.5 million viewers on Antena 3, nearly seven percentage points above channel average.

But, in a growing trend for second seasons on free-to-air TV in Spain, ratings for last year’s season 2 slumped to between 2.85 million and 2.2 million viewers per episode.

Observers pointed out from the beginning that “Vis a Vis” had the biggest cable-edge of any free-to-air series in Spain. Unlike other multi-platform tie-ups on Atresmedia series, such as upcoming historical epic “The Cathedral of the Sea,” which will screen on Atresmedia and then Netflix, Atresmedia has no plans to air “Vis a Vis’” Season 3 after Fox.

The agreement also sees Fox Networks Group take rights to Spain and Portugal on “Vis a Vis” season 3. Ivan Escobar, the creator of other flagship Globomedia-Atresmedia shows such as “El Barco” and “Los hombres de Paco,” will remain as “Vis a Vis'” show-runner.

Fox rates as the most-watched basic-cable pay TV channel in Spain, with a 6,4% pay TV market share in 2016, ahead of TNT (4,9%), Bein Liga (4,8%), AXN (4,6%) and Canal Hollywood (4%), according to audience analysis company Barlovento. In Latin America, Fox has produced series for the region for many years, escalating cable TV penetration allowing it to target ever more individual markets within the region.

With Movistar +, the pay TV arm of Telefonica, readying a slate of 10-or-so original Spanish series a year, beginning with “Velvet Collection” this September, the pressure is now on international channels distinguished by their offer of series to hit back with their own original local TV drama.

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