TV Deals: 'Betty La Fea,' 'Friday Night Lights,' Matthew Lillard

9104__america_l-ABC seems to be first out of the gate in the race to adapt popular Latin American telenovelas into English-language primetime soaps. Up first is Ugly Betty, a version of the popular Colombian telenovela Betty la fea, about an unattractive but efficient secretary at a fashion magazine. Starring will be the zaftig but far from fea America Ferrera (pictured, Real Women Have Curves, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Salma Hayek is reportedly involved, though it’s not clear whether she’d be acting or just producing.

-Early Edition‘s Kyle Chandler will play the Billy Bob Thornton role as a Texas high school football coach in NBC’s TV series version of Friday Night Lights.

-Variety has the scoop on several TV pilots, including 13 Graves, a Fox drama series that would star Matthew ”Shaggy” Lillard as a National Treasure-type adventurer who criss-crosses the country looking for 13 sites supposedly containing gold stashed by conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

addCredit(“America Ferrara: Jeffrey Mayer/”)

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  • Ron Mwangaguhunga

    My fave telenovela is Xica da Silva. When are they going to bring that badboy to the small screen. And, on a vaguely related subject: What about the big screen version of “Chespirito,” the bee dude with the giant “CH” affixed proudly across his chest.

  • Alexandria

    “Betty La Fea” was actually an economist but unsuccessful in finding work because many people couldn’t see past her looks – also her father was very overprotective of her. She took a job as a secretary to the CEO of a Fashion House, not a fashion magazine. Betty had a crush on her boss – the boss treated her badly but realized that she was a lot smarter than she looked and after a few disasterous business decisions which caused the company to loose money, secretly signed the company to Betty in order to bring things back on track. For fear of loosing the business to her, he began to court her (unhappily). Eventually, he falls in love with her, she finds out his plan, leaves for a few months because she was devastated to know she was used and that he did not love her and she reluctantly got a make over, came back more confidant, took over the company and made it grow.
    This was one of the best novelas because it wasn’t the run of the mill novela with the cat fights, beautiful but not so smart women who need men to save them from themselves and others. It was so popular, it drew audiances from around the world including Japan and Germany.
    American’s are now just getting it…

  • lynny

    America is great and I am glad to see her in high profile role, but she is sooooooo not “fea”. I guess we are talking about Hollywood. My husband is in love with her and I think she is really pretty.

  • Ep Sato

    I had heard that Epifanes is being broadcast on HBO as well. I am excited to see more Latino TV on. However, having grown up around telenovelas (mom and aunts were all fans), an hermano has a responsibility to warn you all of the potential for a slippery slope. Telenovelas are so scandalous and addictive that I have heard of women who have learned Spanish just to they can watch them. I fear an epidemic.
    Show wise, my money’s on Lillard. Much like the pre-Earl Jason Lee, he is a great young talent who has not yet found the right venue for his style of acting. Dude was awesome in Scream and Scoobie Doo (IMHO, he was pretty much the only good thing about Scoobie Doo), but has made some BAAAAD career choices (Wing Commander, anyone?).
    Of course, Fox will probably pull the plug after three “Friday night at 11″ episodes yield low ratings, but cult fans will get dvd gold and the sci fi channel will get another show to syndicate before Galactica.

  • Pepe

    She is really amazing! The original Spanish soap was really funny! She will add tons of humour to the English soap.

  • V.M.L.

    I’m not too crazy about the Betty la Fea remake. Its hard to imagine one after seeing the original several times.
    13 Graves sounds interesting.

  • Ep Sato

    Can anyone think of Spanish Novelas or shows that should be translated to English?
    Personally, I’d love to see more variety shows like Sabado Gigante or Puerto Rico’s “el Super Show” spawn American counterparts. These shows are cheap to produce, humorous and feature lots of steamy innuendo!
    From a different POV, it’d be smooth if they remade “Dos Mujeres Un Camino” into English but kept Eric Estrada (Yes, PONCH was in the original).

  • Janet

    Matthew Lillard was also great (uniquely scenery-chewing) in another film, “The Curve”, which is a smart, entertaining, and dandy little mystery that has a great payoff AND a lower key but deft and subtle performance by a not-yet-well-known Michael Vartan AND Keri Russell! Catch it on cable.

  • MJ

    I loved “Betty La Fea”, and am not too happy about an American remake. It just can’t get better than the original.

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  • Anita

    I think that the english remake won’t be good or the same as the Colombian version was. I really liked the Colombian version i would like to see how different or how similar the English version will be from the real Colobiam version was.

  • Fern

    A week ago , Univision launched one of many remakes of what I feel was the best telenovela ever made, “Betty La Fea.” I’m holding my breath because we all know what most remakes end up doing to the original, and Betty does not deserve that fate. The original “Betty La Fea” (translated as Betty the Ugly) was a perfect blend of perfectly chosen cast with a story that touched both the usual ugly duckling story chords but also a national chord in my home nation, Colombia. The beautiful swan emerged in a country beset with guerilla warfare and drug corruption and gave viewers a reason to hope for intelligence, sincerity, and honesty winning both economic and romantic success. The secondary characters were like family, dysfunctional mainly, but like family, and the whole country rooted for Betty in ways that made the final Ross/Rachel coupling here look like a quick exit out of the room.

  • Fern

    In 2004 actress Salma Hayek, through her production company and a joint venture with Touchstone Television, acquired the licensing rights to Betty La Fea,with plans to turn it into an English-language dramedy series for the United States. The American version has been picked up by ABC under the title Ugly Betty and is considered a candidate for the 2006-2007 TV season, but there is also talk that this program could debut in the Summer of 2006 as a daily five days a week series according to this article in Broadcasting&Cable. America Ferrera has been picked to play the title character, who is a unattractive but efficient secretary working at a fashion magazine.
    Mexican company Televisa make its own version named La Fea Más Bella (“The most beautiful ugly woman”). This version is currently airing on Univision in the United States, which made its debut on the network on April 24, 2006.
    This Colombian show has been so successful, that besides from being dubbed and broadcasted in countries as Russia, Philippines and China, it was also adapted in some other countries. In 2003, Sony Entertainment Television India bought the script and copyright of the show and adapted it to local contexts to create the immensely popular and ongoing Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi (“There Is No One Like Jassi”).
    In early 2004, the German TV network SAT 1 did the same and released it as a new version called Verliebt in Berlin (“Smitten in Berlin”), starring German soap opera star Alexandra Neldel and Swiss actor Mathis Künzler.
    In 2006 the Dutch TV network Talpa started airing Lotte (which is the Dutch name for Betty), starring Nyncke Beekhuyzen as the main character and Lars Oostveen (as Vico Maesland, the Dutch “Armando Mendoza Sáenz”).
    Mega Channel in Greece is preparing its own version of “Betty la fea” for the autumn of 2006.

  • manoj

    nice boy friend ok…

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