Televisa’s Fabrica de Sueños (Dream Factory), launched last year under the leadership of Patricio Wills, has begun to reap ratings dividends from its anthology series of re-versioned hit Televisa telenovelas of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Founded under the slogan ‘Rewriting History,’ Fabrica de Sueños kicked off to stellar ratings in September with “La Usurpadora” (“The Usurper”).
Its second series, “Cuna de Lobos” (“Cradle of Wolves”), which debuted Oct. 7 and stars Spain’s Paz Vega (“Rambo: Last Blood”), has not disappointed. Its first episode clinched the top spot on Televisa with 5.8 million viewers, per Nielsen Ibope Mexico, trouncing its competition in the 9:30 pm time slot by 81%.
“We have committed to offering contemporary content by adhering to the highest quality standards with the best producers and cast of international stature; ‘La Usurpadora’ and now ‘Cuna de Lobo,’ are clear examples of Televisa’s new line of programming,” said Wills, who headed NBCU’s Telemundo Studios before joining Televisa last year as President of Televisa Studios and taking on the challenge of revamping the beleaguered network’s programming content.
Almost to the day, the original “Cuna de Lobos” debuted in October 1986 to run for 170 episodes. It was so popular that the normally clogged streets of Mexico City were virtually empty on the night of its finale.
Those were the glory days when telenovelas gripped the country Monday to Friday and commanded stratospheric audience numbers.
In a nod to shifting audience tastes, the advent of streaming giants and shortened attention spans, Televisa’s Fabrica de Sueños has opted to make 25-episode versions of the company’s original telenovelas, which normally comprised more than 100 episodes each. Casting Paz Vega in “Cuna de Lobos” was integral to the Mexican broadcaster’s bid to bolster the new show’s international appeal.
The new “Cuna de Lobos,” stripped Monday to Friday, follows Catalina Creel, played by Vega, who is the matriarch of the powerful Larios family. Domineering and obsessive, she will stop at nothing to protect her interests and reach her goals.
The Fabrica’s maiden series “La Usurpadora” (“The Usurper”) was also a ratings leader on Televisa, opening with 3.9 million viewers and beating competition in the 9:30 pm time slot by 149.42%, per Nielsen Ibope Mexico.
At U.S. Hispanic network Univision, which acquires the bulk of its primetime programming from Televisa under a long-standing PLA agreement, “La Usurpadora” averaged 1.6 million total viewers, making it the No. 1 Spanish-language network on weeknights from 9 pm to 10 p.m.
“La Usurpadora” centers on twin sisters, played by Sandra Echevarria, who were separated at birth and meet again as adults. Paola, desperate to escape her life as the First Lady of Mexico, forces her twin to take on her identity in order to simulate her own death, and start a new life with her lover. But the twin, Paulina, survives the attack and decides to fully embrace her new role as First Lady. The President, unaware she’s his wife’s twin, falls deeply in love with her.
The original 1998 “La Usurpadora” was one of the most exported Televisa telenovelas, licensed to 125 countries and dubbed into 25 languages.
Other re-versioned telenovela classics in the pipeline include: “Rubi,” “Quinceañera,” “El Guero” and Los Ricos Tambien Lloran.”