Patricio Wills, the executive responsible for such hit telenovelas as UniMás’s La Viuda Negra and Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur, has agreed to steward a Miami-based startup that will develop content exclusively for UniMás and its digital platforms.
The first project from Wills’s new venture, which has yet to be named, is expected to debut in October.
Wills is the founder, president and CEO of RTI Colombia. In February of 2011, he added oversight of Producciones RTI, the company’s joint venture with Telemundo that produced La Reina del Sur (“Queen of the South”), one of the U.S. network’s most successful primetime dramas.
By 2013, RTI-produced telenovelas weren’t airing on Telemundo in the U.S., though. Following the 2011-2012 series Flor Salvaje, Mexican media company Televisa joined forces with RTI. The result placed La Viuda Negra on Univision Communications-owned UniMás. (Univision Communications has an exclusive deal to air Televisa-owned programming in the U.S.)
The most recent RTI/Televisa series to air in the U.S., La esquina del Diablo, also aired on UniMás. That series concluded its run in April of 2015.
Now, Wills has been charged with developing “edgy, action-packed series” for UniMás’s primetime lineup — a task that will have the nearly 40-year Latin television veteran develop content specifically for U.S. Hispanic audiences.
“Patricio is, without a doubt, an innovator and one of the best content creators in media,” Univision Communications president and CEO Randy Falco said in a statement. “As we continue to grow UniMás as one of the leading Spanish-language broadcast networks, we are pleased to join forces with Patricio to continue to innovate and bring our audience the best in alternative formats and stories.”
The agreement with Wills is significant to the evolution of UniMás, which shifted from previous male-focused incarnation TeleFutura in January 2013 to target all Latinos in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-35-year-old demographic. As UniMás grew, it did so with Televisa-owned RTI programming. By bringing Wills in-house, Univision Communications’ sales team now has the power to go full throttle with product integration opportunities and plot customization, as Telemundo has done for the last several years.
Willis’s deal with UniMás arrives at a critical point for parent Univision, which saw the expected resignation of Alberto “Beto” Ciurana as president of programming and content in late January. Ciurana’s exit followed the departure of several other key Univision executives, including Ruth Gaviria, who exited as executive vice president of corporate marketing last August. She resurfaced last month as chief marketing officer for radio-station owner Intercom Communications.
His final project with RTI Productions — La Viuda Negra II — debuted at 10 p.m. Feb. 28 with a world premiere simulcast on Univision, UniMás and Galavisión networks, as well as on Univision Digital platforms.