EXCLUSIVE: Former Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross has been tapped as a lead opposite Jacqueline Grace Lopez in Jane the Novela, the CW’s Jane the Virgin spinoff pilot. The telenovela anthology series project hails from Jane the Virgin creator/executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman, star Gina Rodriguez, exec producers Ben Silverman and director Brad Silberling, as well as studio CBS TV Studios.
Written by Jane scribe Valentina Garza and directed by Silberling, Jane the Novela is envisioned as a soapy, telenovela-inspired anthology series in the tradition of Jane the Virgin, where each season is based on a different fictional novel “written by” Jane Villanueva and narrated by the author herself.
The first installment takes place at a Napa Valley vineyard, where family secrets (and family members) don’t stay buried for long. It centers on Estela (Lopez), an up-and-coming art curator who has spent years playing it safe and coloring within the lines. But a shocking secret changes everything and forces her to live a double life.
Being “in the tradition of Jane the Virgin,” Jane the Novela mirrors the setup of the original series. It too follows a driven, imaginative twentysomething Latina woman (Lopez) who is torn between her boyfriend, Luen, and Felix, a handsome, rich guy. Felix co-owns a winery with his manipulative and glamorous mother Renata (Cross), who will stop at nothing to secure her son’s legacy, even if it means standing in the way of his happiness.
Cross starred as conservative housewife Bree Van de Kamp on ABC’s hit soapy dramedy series Desperate Housewives, which earned her an Emmy nomination. She previously starred on Melrose Place and several daytime dramas, giving her strong credentials to tackle a series in the tradition of telenovelas, the Latin American version of American soaps. Most recently, Cross recurred on ABC’s thriller series Quantico as well as on YouTube Red series Youth & Consequences.
She is repped by Gersh and John Carrabino Management.