“Betty La Fea,” the megahit Colombian telenovela that inspired the ABC series “Ugly Betty,” has been optioned by South Africa’s Known Associates Entertainment for a local adaptation.
The deal was announced at Mipcom on Monday with Colombian net RCN, which owns the rights to the format.
“It is a great pleasure to be able to bring this evergreen home to South African audiences, and we are looking forward to finding the best broadcaster for the series,” said Known Associates chairman Joel Phiri. “We intend to make it along much the same lines as the other successful ‘Ugly Bettys’: with a local flavor, and in South African languages.”
The American version of “Betty La Fea,” created by Silvio Horta, debuted in 2006 from exec producers Salma Hayek and Ben Silverman. “Ugly Betty” ran for four seasons on ABC, and its star, America Ferrera, went on to become the first Latina to win a lead actress Emmy.
Before its U.S. launch, Variety described “Ugly Betty” as “a Colombian ugly duckling [that] catapulted the telenovela genre out of its Latin American barrio and generated more clones than any other Latin sudser.”
Known Associates is currently in talks with South African broadcasters to bring the series to local audiences. A recently launched partnership between veteran South African producers Phiri, Dan Jawitz, and Tshepiso Sello, Known Associates is in Cannes selling a slate of scripted drama series, TV movies and scripted factual shows.