NBC has inked a deal with Ben Silverman’s IAC-owned company Electus to develop three telenovelas with an eye toward airing one as a 13-episode series — with multiple episodes running each week, following telenovelas’ traditional air pattern. That would mark a rare stripped primetime run for an original scripted series on a U.S. English-language network. “We believe there is huge potential for telenovelas to be adapted and developed for American viewers,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “These stories clearly have resonance across all cultures and nationalities.”
NBC and Electus have identified the first project to be developed under the pact, The Black Widow, from writer Sri Rao (General Hospital: Night Shift). It is an adaptation of the hit Venezuelan telenovela La Viuda Joven, which premiered in 2011 and aired 142 episodes around the world. (See the Spanish-language trailer below.) Created by Martin Hahn, it centers on the stunning Rojas aka Baroness, who is investigated in the mysterious deaths of all four of her husbands. Rao executive produces the adaptation with Silverman and Jimmy Fox, Electus’ Head of Creative Development. Electus International will control distribution of the NBC versions as well as the original formats worldwide, excluding Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. Venevision International will distribute the format in those territories, as well as the original Venezuelan series worldwide.