Friday, January 16, 2015

NBC Orders Comedy 'Telenovela' Starring Eva Longoria & Miniseries 'Freedom Run' Produced by Stevie Wonder

During his executive session at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced orders for 13-episode comedy Telenovela starring Eva Longoria and 8-part miniseries Freedom Run executive produced by Stevie Wonder.

Created by Chrissy Pietrosh and Jessica Goldstein, Telenovela centers on the willful but popular telenovela star, Ana Maria (Longoria), who struggles to stay on top in a world where the drama on-camera is nothing compared to the drama off-camera. Universal Television and Unbelievable Entertainment produce.

"There are few actresses with as much international appeal as Eva Longoria," said Jennifer Salke, President, NBC Entertainment. "She is a perfect fit for Telenovela. Her character will try to navigate the hysteria and hijinks that everyone must endure in putting together a daily show."

Added Greenblatt: "We love our producing relationship with Eva and we're so thrilled she wants to step back in front of the camera to show off her comedic side on this show. In a world where telenovelas are so popular on Spanish-speaking television as the Latino audience continues to grow everywhere, we think this show is very much of the moment."

Adapted from Pulitzer Prize finalist Betty DeRamus' acclaimed book "Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad," Freedom Run revolves around three couples - all based on real people - who endured the hardships of slaves who fought for freedom and the love of their lives. The project is also in the stages of being developed into a Broadway musical.

B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright will write the miniseries and serve as executive producers, alongside Stevie Wonder, Tara Smith and Brian LaRoda.

"We're increasingly looking for projects that qualify as television events and these harrowing true stories of courageous young men and women who found love, in spite of the heinousness of slavery, certainly does that," said Greenblatt. "Furthermore, the idea of also developing this into a Broadway musical with Stevie Wonder is very exciting as we look to expand the scope of our live stage business. We're thrilled that these producers wanted to bring this important project to us."

"These unforgettable moments in history, which have never been told on television before, are both incredibly painful and heartwarming and need to be presented to the world," said Salke. "We're honored to be adapting this emotionally affecting book in a television event."