EXCLUSIVE: Six years after the debut of Ugly Betty, two of the key auspices behind the successful dramedy are reuniting for another light drama at ABC and ABC Studios about a Latino family. In a last-minute buy, the network has put in development Bastards, from Ugly Betty executive producer Salma Hayek and the show’s creator/executive producer Silvio Horta. Completing the A-list team behind the show is producer Mark Gordon, who will also executive produce. Written by Horta, Bastards centers on a colorful Cuban-American family who have their lives turned upside down when it’s revealed that the family patriarch had a child with the family maid over 25 years ago. Now his wife will do anything to protect her children’s inheritance and prevent her family’s deep dark secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
Bastards originated with an idea by Hayek. She and Jose Tamez, her producing partner at their ABC-Studios based Ventanarosa, had been trying to tackle the premise for awhile and had teamed with Gordon’s Mark Gordon Prods., which also is under a deal at ABC Studios. Horta, who is of Cuban- American descent, recently received a call from Tamez and Mark Gordon Prods.’ drama executive Nicholas Pepper who was once Horta’s ABC executive on Ugly Betty. “I immediately sparked to the concept — it was fun and juicy and had the opportunity for both a lot of salacious situations and humor as well as a lot of heart and emotions, hitting that sweet spot I like to write,” Horta said. After some very fast deal-making, the team sold the project at ABC. Back in 2005, others had taken a stab at adapting the popular telenovela Ugly Betty for American audiences before Horta, but his version stuck. “I hope history will repeat itself,” he quipped. Horta, Hayek, Tamez, Gordon and Pepper are executive producing.
Last season, Horta wrote and executive produced another light drama about a Latino family at Fox. The project, based on an idea by Fox entertainment topper Kevin Reilly and executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, centered on three sisters and their interlinked lives. While it didn’t get to pilot, Fox kept the project alive and put it in redevelopment. The process kept Horta, who is under an overall deal at Sony TV, busy, so he missed the broadcast selling season and was preparing cable pitches when he got the call on Bastards. He is now focusing on the script, which he has to write in a month.
In addition to Bastards, Ventanarosa has The Cisco Kid, a re-imagening the iconic Latino character, set up at CBS with Lauren Shuler Donner producing. This marks the 12th sale for the Mark Gordon Co. this season. Horta is with WME, Hayek with CAA, Gordon with ICM Partners.