BREAKING NEWS: Ex-General Hospital Showrunner Jill Farren Phelps to Helm 80-Episode Telenovela For Nickelodeon; Josh Griffith to Write!
Ousted General Hospital showrunner Jill Farren Phelps didn't stay on the unemployment line long! The veteran daytime executive (Santa Barbara, Guiding Light, Another World, One Life to Live) has been tapped to helm a groundbreaking U.S. adaptation of the telenovela Alcanzar una Estrella (Reach For a Star) for Nick-at-Night!
According to a press release, Nick is partnering with novela factory Televisa to produce 80 episodes of the drama series about a teenage girl who becomes a star and falls in love with her teen idol. Sony Pictures Television, which co-owns The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives, are also onboard to co-produce. Former daytime scribe Josh Griffith (As The World Turns, OLTL, SB, Sunset Beach, GH, Y&R) is serving as head writer.
Even though I am not a particular fan of Phelps' work (I still haven't forgiven her for killing my Frankie Frame on Another World!), this is incredible news for the soap opera industry. If more cablers are willing to get into bed with ex-daytimers, it only increases our chances of seeing the daily soap genre live on in the U.S. in some fashion. Check out the full press release below!
Nickelodeon, in partnership with Televisa, has ordered 80 episodes of a groundbreaking, original one-hour U.S. adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela, Reach for a Star (Alcanzar una Estrella) for Nick at Nite, it was announced today by Cyma Zarghami, President of Viacom's Nickelodeon Group; and Jose Baston President of Television and Content from Televisa. The first telenovela ever adapted for the U.S. audience, Reach for a Star is a single-camera, daily series following a teenage girl whose life changes completely when she becomes a star and wins the love of her teen idol. Reach for a Star will be produced in association with Sony Pictures Television and is set to premiere later this year on Nickelodeon's nighttime block for families--Nick at Nite. Production begins in March in Los Angeles, Calif.
"We have experienced first-hand the popularity of the daily scripted format with our kid audience through the success of House of Anubis and our teen audience with DeGrassi: The Next Generation," and our Nick Latin American channel has already had great success in producing telenovela's with Televisa," Ms. Zarghami said. "This partnership brings together Televisa's un-matched leadership in the telenovela genre with our expertise in making content, and we're looking forward to introducing this first true English-language telenovela to Nick at Nite's family audience."
"As part of the steps towards building a strong presence in the Anglo TV market, Televisa is excited to coproduce with Nickelodeon one of the many successful scripts from our library in a daily series format," said Baston. We are convinced that the daily series will be well received by Nick's family audiences, and will capture their attention daily as it has happened in different markets in the world where Televisa has exported its production capabilities. The Televisa and Nick alliance will certainly result in a successful formula, and we envision Reach for a Star as the first of many joint projects.
"For more than a decade Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Televisa have been strategically building upon their regional partnership that today encompasses, distribution, consumer products and co-productions," said Pierluigi Gazzolo, Chief Operating Officer, VIMN. "Reach for a Star marks a dynamic new phase in our partnership and VIMN is incredibly excited to once again be expanding our content portfolio with Televisa."
Reach for a Star follows Nickelodeon's success with its live-action serialized series, House of Anubis and Degrassi. Nickelodeon has also experienced tremendous success with the format in Europe and Latin America. The Reach for a Star series is an adaptation of the hit Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, first broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas and Univision in 1990. The success of the series led to a film and sequel telenovela starring Latin American pop sensations, Ricky Martin and Sasha Sokol.
Reach for a Star follows a smart, shy and independent high school senior, Loren, who has ambitions of being a songwriter and secretly sends her song lyrics to her celebrity crush, rock superstar Eddie Wild. Loren's wildest dreams come true when she not only wins a songwriting competition sponsored by Eddie, but strikes up a friendship with her idol. Eddie sees beyond Loren's potential as a songwriter and gives her a first break as a singer, and when the truth about his less-than-faithful girlfriend Chloe is revealed, Eddie and Loren's friendship blossoms.
The series will be co-executive produced by six-time Emmy Award-winner Jill Farren Phelps (General Hospital, One Life to Live) and Hisham Abed (The Hills and The City). Josh Griffith (Young and the Restless, As the World Turns) will serve as head writer.
Nick at Nite is Nickelodeon's nighttime programming block that features popular hit family comedies including the Emmy Award-winning series Friends, My Wife & Kids, George Lopez and The Nanny.