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Telemundo Adds ‘Series Premium’ Sunday Drama Showcase

In a bid to keep up with the fast-evolving TV viewing habits of its audience, Telemundo has launched a new Sunday night drama franchise billed as “Series Premium.”

The new weekly program aims to bring a host of high-concept series that run 10 to 15 episodes per season, a big shift from the traditional telenovela focus of Spanish-language TV. The initial roster of shows for the Sunday night showcase include “El Recluso,” bio-series “Nicky Jam: El Ganador,” crime drama “Falco,” and “El Secreto de Selena,” among others.

“Our objective is to carve a space on Sunday nights with shorter, high-value, high-IP stories, featuring world- class talent,” said Luis Silberwasser, president of Telemundo Networks. Telemundo recently tapped former Univision programming exec Ronald Day to serve as exec VP of Programming for Telemundo Networks.

Telemundo’s push into recurring series that mirror the offerings of English-language networks reflect the NBCUniversal network’s push to draw a younger audience. Telemundo’s success with such series has helped the network close the once-large ratings gap with its long-dominant rival, Univision. In primetime, Telemundo during the past two years has accelerated to pass Univision for the No. 1 ranking in key demos on many nights.

The broadcaster’s new appointment TV initiative kicks off tonight with the 13-episode musical bio-series “Luis Miguel, La Serie.” Produced by MGM’s Gato Grande Productions, it’s billed as the only autobiographical series authorized by the Latin American superstar. Diego Boneta (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Rock of Ages”) plays the iconic artist.

Telemundo has also snapped up U.S. rights to “Falco,” the Mexican adaptation of German hit crime series, “The Last Cop” (“Der Letzte Bulle”), directed by Sundance-winning Mexican helmer Ernesto Contreras. Amazon Prime Video snapped up the exclusive Latin American streaming rights to the show prior to this month’s MipTV sales conferences in Cannes, where Red Arrow Studios International launched international sales.

Co-produced by Spiral Int’l and Colombian shingle, Dynamo, “Falco” is set in early 1990s Mexico City, where Det. Alex Falco is shot in the head while out in the field. He ends up in a coma only to regain consciousness 20 years later, opening his eyes to a vastly unfamiliar world. His only recourse is his job as he sets out to find some answers.

Telemundo International Studios’ first in-house production, “El Recluso” (“The Inmate”), tracks Lázaro Mendoza, a former Marine who enters a maximum-security prison on the U.S.-Mexico border to investigate the kidnapping of a prominent U.S. judge’s daughter. The 13-episode series stars Argentine actor Ignacio Serricchio (“Lazaro Mendoza”) and Mexican thesp Ana Claudia Talancón (“Frida”) and was shot on location in Mexico City and the U.S.-Mexico border.

Reggaeton star Nicky Jam plays himself in “Nicky Jam: El Ganador,” a 13-episode scripted drama produced by the newly combined studio Endemol Shine Boomdog for both Telemundo and Netflix. The original series follows the career highs and lows of the prolific reggaeton artist, and premieres exclusively on Telemundo this summer. Production began in January in several locations including Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and NYC.

Based on the bestselling book by Emmy Award-winning journalist María Celeste Arrarás, mini-series “El Secreto de Selena” (Selena’s Secret), examines the circumstances that led to the shooting death of beloved Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla in 1995. Mexico’s Maya Zapata (“Bordertown,” “Kdabra”) plays Selena.

(Pictured: “Falco”)

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