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Azteca America Builds ‘The Wall’; Border-Set Scripted Drama Gets 50-Episode Commitment

Deadline logo Deadline 4/5/2017 Erik Pedersen
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Call this a case of art imitating strife. Azteca America said at its New York upfront today that it has given a 50-episode commitment to The Wall (El Muro), which will follow a fictional U.S. president who decides to build a wall to separate his country from its neighbor. Filmed in Mexico, Arizona and Los Angeles and bowing next year, it will be the TV Azteca-owned network’s first U.S.-produced scripted series.

Azteca America today also announced another new series, Mental Hospital (El Manicomio); two other drama series; and returning programs. See details below.

Set on the Arizona-Mexico border, The Wall follows the controversy sparked by the fictional commander-in-chief — tos Trump tos — as he moves forward with the massive project. He finds out that the best way to build the wall is from the other side because, in the small country, the workforce is cheaper. It also tells the love story between Adriana, an undocumented immigrant, and Calixto, the immigration officer in charge of her deportation.

The first stages of production are underway, with casting of both Spanish- and English-speaking actors to be announced soon.

Said Azteca America president and CEO Manuel Abud, “This timely series will not only entertain but also tap into issues that are of extreme interest to our audience.”

Azteca America also unveiled other projects and returning shows at its upfront. Here is a rundown, with descriptions provided by the network:

“El Manicomio” (Mental Hospital): Azteca’s new thriller is a series about Mariana, a passionate reporter, whose grandmother mysteriously dies in a psychiatric hospital. Mariana suspects her grandmother’s death was not due to natural causes, and she pays a high price to discover the truth – she checks herself into the hospital as clinically insane to conduct a deeper investigation. Mariana must uncover the truth before her obsession with the investigation can justify the hospital’s intent to keep her locked up for the rest of her life. Produced in Mexico for Azteca America, this thirteen-episode, hour-long series will get viewers hooked from the start.

NEW DRAMATIC SERIES

“Vis a Vis”: This intense prison thriller tells the story of Macarena Ferreiro, a young naive woman who falls in love with her boss and is manipulated by him to participate in illegal activity. She is sentenced to seven years in prison and is faced with the day-to-day dangers of being incarcerated. Macarena quickly realizes that in order to survive her time in jail, she will need to change her ways and adhere to a prisoner’s code.

“Relatos Misteriosos” (Mystical Tales): This series brings to life the world’s most intriguing mysteries through documentary-style dramatizations and reenactments. The hour-long co-production appeals to Azteca viewers’ passion for all things supernatural as they are called to question – are these stories mere coincidences or is there more we don’t know?

MISS UNIVERSE

This season Azteca will return for the third consecutive year as the exclusive U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster of the MISS UNIVERSE Competition, one of the most-viewed live events on television each year. Viewers will watch as the 2016 Miss Universe, Iris Mittenaere, crowns her successor. This year’s program also will feature a prime time special “Camino a la Corona” showing behind-the-scenes footage of contestants preparing for their chance at the crown.

NEW SPORTS PROGRAMMING

“Knockout”: “Knockout” is a hard-hitting, U.S.-produced reality series that personalizes the journeys of boxers as students of the sport, while exploring boxing as a 24/7 culture for these dedicated warriors. The show grants viewers complete access into the boxers’ personal and professional lives inside and outside the ring showing them not just as fighters, but as parents, co-workers, friends, and mentors.

“Combate Americas Azteca”: Combate Americas, the premier Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise, brings live, world-champion MMA events to the U.S. exclusively on Azteca America this year. In addition to monthly 90-minute live specials, the Combate Americas Azteca series includes a weekly hour-long show, starring Alberto Del Río, Andrés Bermúdez, Carlos Aguilar, and Ivette Hernández, about the league’s most exciting fights and prolific young fighters.

RETURNING PROGRAMMING

“Venga la Alegría” is a popular midday entertainment show with segments appealing to all audiences. The show features beauty tips, cooking lessons, games, comedy sketches, and health and nutrition advice presented by hosts Patricio BorghettiVanessa Claudio, Ingrid Coronado, Sergio Sepulveda, Tábata Jalil, “El Capi” Pérez, Mariano SandovalRicardo Casares and Natalia Venezuela.

“Ventaneando” continues to be the go-to destination for juicy celebrity news from all over the U.S. and Mexico – exclusively on Azteca. Iconic hostess Pati Chapoy and her team, Atala SarmientoJimena Pérez “La Choco, Daniel Bisogno, and Pedro Sola, serve up the hottest celebrity coverage. This season brings viewers more exclusive stories, surprising gossip and scandalous secrets!

“Al Extremo” is a newsmagazine show that dares to tell what other television programs will not air. Hosting the show is the distinguished pair Verónica del Castillo and Juan BarraganGaby Crassus brings the show’s signature thrills to weekends with “Al Extremo Fin de Semana.” “Al Extremo” presents video clips covering a range of extraordinary events caught on tape, from gritty moments to humorous videos depicting life’s lighter times. Tales of human interest, police stories, crime scenes, miraculous events, and the most audacious entertainment news make for an extreme hour of television viewing.

Rafael Mercadante and Adianez Hérnandez host “Escape Perfecto.” A team of two contestants work together to complete trivia and physical challenges to grab prizes from a gigantic cage before the doors slam shut. With increasingly difficult questions for each of the 10 rounds, the team is offered bigger prizes with less time to answer the question correctly. Halfway through, the team will decide whether it wants to escape with the prizes it has, or risk it all for the major prize selected at the beginning of the game.

In its seventh season, “La Isla” is a reality show that pits three groups of contestants against each other. The participants will test their mental and physical strength and their abilities in the battle to determine who will take home the cash prize. Once again, Alejandro Lukini returns as the host, welcoming the participants and accompanying them throughout their journey.

RETURNING SPORTS

“Pasion Deportiva,” the popular Sunday sports magazine show, returns with hosts Rafael Ayala, Paco González, Pamela, and Ivette Hernández.

“DeportTV,” hosted by Rafael Ayala and Óscar Francisco Cano, brings viewers weekly sports recaps to end the week.

Marco Antonio Morales, Eduardo Lamazón, Julio César Chávez, Rodolfo Vargas, and Carlos Aguilar return to host “Box Azteca,” Azteca’s two-hour-long, weekly, action-packed boxing fights.

Azteca’s longtime program for futbol fanatics, “Los Protagonistas,” covers all the latest sports news – including soccer – from around the world, with hosts Rafael Ayala, Ivette Hernández, and Omar Zerón.

“Lucha Azteca” brings the passion, color, and drama of Mexican wrestling to the Azteca screen every week in a news update format filled with video coverage of the latest matches.

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