By Mansha Daswani
Published: October 6, 2009
CANNES: At a press conference this morning, Globo TV International and Telemundo Internacional unveiled details of their new co-production El Clon, which premieres in 2010 and has already sold across much of the Americas.
The telenovela is a Hispanic version of Globo’s megahit a decade ago. In opening the press conference this morning, Don Browne, the president of Telemundo, noted the effect the original The Clone had on GE and NBC executives at the time, as they were eyeing the potential of the U.S. Hispanic media market. The show, Browne said, served as a reminder that Telemundo, in order to meaningfully take on its competitors, would need to reinvent itself. Today, Browne noted, Telemundo is the world’s second-largest producer of Spanish-language content.
Following Browne’s introduction, Glória Perez, who penned the original, discussed her inspiration for the series, which addresses the issue of human cloning, as well as looking at the clash of Western and Eastern cultures. Marcos Santana, the president of Telemundo Internacional, then talked about his first discussions with Perez about doing a new version of the show, which he referred to as the “alpha and omega of all novelas.” Santana said that the new El Clon would “make history” with its widespread exposure across the continent, in addition to its U.S. airing.
Raphael Corrêa Netto, the director of international sales at Globo TV International, credited Telemundo for understanding the potential of the added value that Globo could provide as a co-production partner. By working together, he noted, the two companies were able to create a “great production.” Noting that the original sold into close to 90 markets, he said, “We believe this can travel to the same kinds of territories.” Telemundo and Globo will be collaborating on the worldwide distribution of the series. Globo will retain the rights to large parts of Europe, the Middle East and French speaking Africa. Telemundo Internacional will hold the rights to the Americas, English-speaking Africa and Asia.
Discussing the actual execution of the show, Patricio Wills, the president of Telemundo Studios, said his first reaction to remaking The Clone was panic, likening the re-do of a “masterpiece novela” to “repainting the Mona Lisa…. It’s like a puzzle, if you change one thing the entire thing will fall apart.” He went on to call El Clon Telemundo’s “most ambitious production.” He also talked about Telemundo’s set in Colombia, with over 2,000 square meters of construction. “El Clon is a very ambitious production with a cast that’s twice the size of a typical telenovela, and we have plans to film 80 percent on location and only 20 percent in studio.”
Closing the press conference, Ricardo Scalamandré, the head of international business at TV Globo, said the Telemundo “partnership is important for the industry, for the genre. Telemundo and Globo working together have a production that will be easily accepted by everyone.”