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Univision Developing Luis Miguel TV Series Despite Singer’s Deal With MGM

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 Anna Marie de la Fuente
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The intensely private Latin American recording artist Luis Miguel will have not one but two TV series based on his life coming to screens soon now that dueling projects are in the works at Univision and MGM.

Spanish-language broadcaster Univision announced during the NATPE conference in Miami that it is developing a new series based on the multi-Grammy-winning singer’s life with producer Pedro Torres, who has collaborated with Miguel for the past 30 years on his music videos. Torres will serve as an executive producer through his company, Curiosity Media Group.

In November, MGM TV president Mark Burnett announced that Gato Grande Productions, MGM TV’s new joint venture with Mexican entrepreneurs Miguel Aleman and Antonio Cue, had secured exclusive life rights to Miguel and that the bio-series on Miguel would be its maiden project. An MGM TV spokesperson said Gato Grande was moving forward with the series. Gato Grande’s mandate is to produce Spanish-language content for worldwide audiences.

Univision’s upcoming Luis Miguel bio-series underscores the network’s concerted effort to produce its own programming as it faces stiffer competition from NBCU’s Telemundo. The network has seen its viewership erode as programing from its long-time supplier Televisa has lost its appeal among U.S. Hispanic viewers. Isaac Lee was recently named Chief Content Officer for both Univision and Televisa, which has FCC approval to increase its current stake to up to more than 40%.

Univision reps could not address the sticky issue about Gato Grande’s exclusive life rights agreement with Miguel. An MGM spokeswoman reiterated that the studio has Miguel’s exclusive life rights.

“This series is part of our efforts to bring Univision’s young and loyal fan base a robust line-up of highly quality programs whether they be unscripted realities, gritty crime dramas or biopics, such as this series on the legendary Luis Miguel,” said Lourdes Diaz, Univision’s president of entertainment, in a statement.

Univision is also co-producing a series based on notorious drug lord El Chapo with Netflix. On January 15, it debuted a new series about the late Jenni Rivera, one of many made about the singer. “Su nombre era Dolores, la Jenni que conoci” (“Her name was Dolores, the Jenni I knew”) was simulcast back to back on Univision and its sister network Unimas with “Blue Demon,” about legendary Lucha Libre fighter Alejandro Munoz.

The simulcast premieres reached a total of 8.3 million viewers who tuned in on to all or part of the three-hour block last Sunday.

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