EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment and Ben Silverman’s Electus have teamed with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand for Speak American, a half-hour comedy that has been sold to Fox. Universal Cable Prods, where Lenchewski is under an overall deal, is producing. Written by Brand (IFC’s Bollywood Hero), Speak American centers on America Aviles, a young accent-reduction teacher of Latin descent who hires a stranger with unconventional methods to teach her class. Brand and Lenchewski originally developed Speak American at USA with the lead of European heritage. The two then changed direction and approached Silverman and Modern Family star Vergara, who have extensive experience in Latino-themed projects. Silverman executive produced ABC’s Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, and he and Vergara executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women, based on an Argentine series. They also have partnered on their premium YouTube channel, NuevOn along with an Electus/LatinWE partnership to bring programming formats to the U.S.
“This marks the continued expansion of our relationship with Sofia and Luis as we continue to build Electus’ investment in Latin programming,” said Silverman. The redeveloped Speak American was taken to Fox, whose topper Kevin Reilly has been looking for Latino-themed projects and developed a dramedy about three Miami sisters with Ugly Betty creator and Jennifer Lopez two seasons ago. “Fox is the perfect network to show characters and stories that cross cultural lines and deepen our understanding of what it means to be American in a fun and fresh way,” said Balaguer and Vergara. Speak American is executive produced by Lenchewski, Electus chairman Silverman and Head of Creative Development Jimmy Fox, and LatinWE’s Vergara and Balaguer. Brand, repped by Gersh and Aperture, is co-executive producing. The Speak American sale comes on the heels of Electus signing a 3-for-1 deal with NBC for telenovelas to air multiple times a week.