Eva Longoria is proving to be a real (multi)hyphenate…
The 48-year-old Mexican American actress, director and producer and Cris Abrego, two of the most high-profile Latinos in Hollywood, have joined forces.
The company, which has been in the works for months, was announced during a keynote with the duo, who have been friends for years, at Mipcom.
Abrego will serve as the CEO of the company, and Longoria will serve as its Chief Creative Officer.
As part of its launch, Hyphenate has acquired the full slate of Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, which has been behind series such as NBC’s Telenovela, ABC’s Grand Hotel and CNN’s Searching for Mexico.
As such, Hyphenate will take on Apple TV+’s Land of Women, a six-part series starring and exec produced by the Desperate Housewives star that will launch in 2024.
The company will develop and produce both scripted and unscripted series and both of them will produce for the business with all television projects directed by Longoria also coming under the new banner, which is set to firm up its leadership team later this year.
Abrego, who founded Below Deck producer 51 Minds Entertainment in 2003, will remain Chairman of Americas for Banijay and he also serves as Chair of the Television Academy Foundation and a member of the Executive Committee for the Television Academy.
The move marks Banijay’s first investment into the scripted space in the U.S.
Speaking at Mipcom, Abrego spotlighted the decision-making behind launching a diverse content company, as he quoted research that found 50% of American under-18s are not white.
“Supporting creatives in their vision is what we will do,” he added. “The train has left the station and the content has to reflect that.”
He cited influential and talented diverse creatives such as Jordan Peele and Ali Wong, whose work “used to be niche but is now the center.”
Reflecting on the company’s name and MO, Longoria said people had always mistaken her for an actor-turned-producer but she is in fact a “producer-director that fell into acting.”
“That multi-hyphenate is not surviving in Hollywood because the industry wants you to stay in your lane, particularly women,” she explained. “So it was my frustration and Cris’s ambition a couple of years ago after I realized it’s not just me who feels this way. I know creators who are being suffocated by the system so Hyphenate will create the ultimate model.”
Longoria added that the current U.S. labor action is “a direct result of creators taking control back.”