USA Network has given a pilot order to The Queen Of The South, an English-language adaptation of Telemundo’s blockbuster 2011 telenovela La Reina del Sur. Frequent USA collaborator Fox TV Studios (White Collar, Graceland) is producing. In his TV debut, feature producer David T. Friendly (Little Miss Sunshine), who brought the project to the studio, is executive producing.

lareinaBased on the bestselling book of the same by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Queen Of The South is a serialized crime drama that centers on Teresa Mendoza. When her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico, Teresa is forced to go on the run and seek refuge in America, where she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. In the process, she learns the tools of the trade and strategically positions herself to become the leader of the cartel.

M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller (The Final Girls) wrote the script and also exec produce with Pancho Mansfield.

La Reina Del Sur is not a typical telenovela, with critics noting that is feels closer to Breaking Bad than One Life To Live, and Telemuno giving it a major Emmy campaign. It was Telemundo’s most expensive telenovela ever with a budget of $10 million and became the highest-rated program in the Spanish-language network’s 19-year history, averaging nearly 4.2 million total viewers and more than 2.8 million viewers adults 18-49. Its May 30, 2011 series finale was the No. 1 broadcast program of the night, of any language.

Queen Of The South joins USA’s other pilots Stanistan, Mr. Robot and Colony.