Forest Whitaker, Eva Longoria to Produce Natalie Chaidez Series ‘Chicano’ in Development at ABC

Eva Longoria Forest Whitaker
Longoria: Courtesy of Jack Guy; Whitaker: Courtesy of Forest Whitaker

ABC is developing a drama series with both Eva Longoria and Forest Whitaker attached as executive producers.

Titled “Chicano,” the series is inspired by the novel of the same name Richard Vasquez. It tells the multi-generational story of the Sandovals, a Mexican-American family that immigrates to Los Angeles in pursuit of the American Dream. It follows the struggles and triumphs of the Sandovals from 1920 through present and explores the question of what it means to be American.

ABC has given the project a script plus additional development material order with a penalty attached. Natalie Chaidez will write and executive produce. Longoria and Ben Spector will executive produce via UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, while Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi will executive produce via Significant Productions. Doug Pray will also executive produce. 20th Century Fox Television, where Chaidez is under an overall deal, will produce.

“’Chicano’ is just the first of many projects that we expect from Eva and Ben as we look to ramp up our slate of Latinx programming,” said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. “As part of our studio family, they are valuable partners in helping us expand our commitment to compelling stories for underrepresented communities. With Forest, Nina, Natalie and Doug also at the helm of this project, we know we have the perfect powerhouse team to bring this Mexican-American family’s story to life and cultivate the next generation of Latinx storytelling.”

Chaidez’s past credits including working as an executive producer and showrunner on shows like “Queen of the South,” “12 Monkeys,” and “Hunters.” Her other credits include “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Heroes,” and “In Plain Sight.”  She and her writing parter, Dr. Kwynn Perry, are currently writing feature projects for Lionsgate and Significant Productions.

Pray’s past credits include “The Defiant Ones” and “Home.” His work with Sylvia Vasquez, daughter of Richard Vasquez, led to the development of this series.

Longoria has a long history with ABC going back to her time on the network’s hit drama “Desperate Housewives.” She and Spector most recently executive produced the ABC drama series “Grand Hotel,” which ended after one season on ABC last summer. The company’s other credits include “La Guerra” and “Reversing Roe.”

Significant Productions’ past credits include the critically-acclaimed films like “Fruitvale Station,” “Dope,” “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” and “Sorry to Bother You.”