Underground, the Buenos Aires-based division of Telemundo Streaming Studios (TSS), is adapting for HBO Max Latin America the thriller “Cathedrals” (“Catedrales”) by award-winning noir author Claudia Piñeiro. 

This marks the first time TSS is producing a series for the Warner Bros. Discovery streamer.

“We are delighted to announce the development of ‘Catedrales’ for HBO Max in Latin America, exactly the type of fresh and culturally relevant content that today’s audiences expect,” said Juan Ponce, senior VP and general manager of Telemundo Streaming Studios.

Piñeiro, widely regarded as Argentina’s “queen of noir novels.” will serve as a literary consultant. Winner of the Dashiell Hammet award in 2021, “Catedrales” is described as “a noir novel that shows the hypocrisy of religion and the atrocities that happen because of it.”

According to the book’s synopsis, it revolves around the mystery behind the brutal murder of 17-year-old Ana Sardá, a devout Catholic who had a strong bond with her family. Some 30 years later, her sister Lia has broken off all ties with both her family and the church, the mother remains heartbroken and depressed while the father pushes to have the case re-opened.

Ponce indicated that “Catedrales” would likely be the first of several literary adaptations. “We’re looking for great IP everywhere; we aim to leverage unique and memorable IP into great content, be they from books, podcasts, or other sources,” he told Variety.

“As pioneers in producing content for global Hispanic audiences, we are proud to work with a world-class streaming service like HBO Max,” he added, referring to the fact that Telemundo began producing in-house content in 2007.

“Adapting this moving story about the search for justice, told with great courage – without skipping facts nor minimizing nor exaggerating the outcome – will be a wonderful challenge. We hope the series will resonate with its  audience just as the novel has with its readers,” said Tomas Yankelevich, chief content officer, general entertainment, Latin America & US Hispanic, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Claudia Piñeiro Credit: Ana Portnoy

Added Sebastian Ortega, director of development for Telemundo Global Studios: ‘Cathedrals’ is a captivating domestic drama, with a good dose of thriller elements, that makes us reflect on such hot-button issues as religious fanaticism, abortion and hypocrisy in the society we live in.”

Acquired in 2019 by NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises, Underground is the first Hispanic media studio committed to serving Latino streaming audiences in the U.S. and around the world. It has continued to ramp up production as streaming giants Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, Apple TV+ and other direct-to-consumer platforms grow their presence and with it their insatiable demand for premium content.

Silvina Fredjkes and Alejandro Quesada will oversee the adaptation of the intrafamily drama while Pablo Cullel serves as executive producer of the project.

In addition to developing and producing its own IP, Underground offers production services to platforms seeking production capabilities and expertise.

Founded in 2006 by Ortega and Culell, Underground is behind such TV hits as “100 Days to Fall in Love,” “Graduados,” “Lalola” and “Los Exitosos Pells.” It also produced internationally awarded content and formats led by “Historia de un clan,” hit series “El Marginal” and the fact-based movie “El Ángel,” co-produced with the Almodovars’ El Deseo.