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Starz Developing Supernatural Thriller 'Maleficio'

On Friday, Starz Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht announced at the network's Television Critics Association (TCA) presentation at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. that Starz has partnered with Televisa USA, a division of the Mexican media company Grupo Televisa, to develop the original series "Maleficio." The Starz and Televisa USA co-production is based on the popular Mexican production "El Maleficio," which originally aired in 1983-84 with 320 episodes to become one of the most successful telenovelas of all time.

The new supernatural thriller will center on Don Enrique De Martino, a powerful Mexican businessman who has made a deadly pact with the Devil. Writer and Producer Mauricio Katz ("Niño Santo," "The Bridge") will serve as showrunner. Pedro Peirano (No, "Niño Santo") will serve as executive producer and will co-write the first episode with Katz. Peirano, an award-winning Chilean director, screenwriter, journalist, cartoonist and television producer, wrote the film No, which was nominated for an Academy Award(R) for Best Foreign Film in 2013.

"We are pleased to partner with Televisa USA for an adaptation of such an incredibly successful series and bring it to the U.S. audience," said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director for Starz. "With Mauricio Katz's prolific writing guiding the project and Pedro Peirano executive producing, 'Maleficio' was a project we knew was worth developing."

"Starz' stamp of quality together with Mauricio and Pedro's tremendous vision and intimate knowledge of the format will ensure an impactful return of this iconic series," said Chris Philip, head of production and distribution for Televisa USA. "'Maleficios' past success means we have a built-in audience of hundreds of millions of fans worldwide."

Katz is a prolific television writer and producer in Mexico where he co-created and executive produced the hit TV series "Niño Santo" that aired for two seasons. Most recently, Katz served as consulting producer on "The Bridge" for FX. In addition, he wrote the critically acclaimed Mexican film MISS BALA, screened in the official section of the Cannes Film Festival and the prestigious New York Film Festival. Katz is repped by UTA.

Starz will retain all domestic and Canadian rights and Televisa USA will retain International rights.

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