Univision & Televisa to Produce Vicente Fernández Biopic Series Based on Olga Womat’s Book “El Último Rey”

The late Vicente Fernández’s life story is headed to the small screen…

Univision and Televisa are joining forces to produce a biopic series inspired by the legendary Mexican singer, actor and film producer.

Vicente Fernández

The new series will be based on the book El Último Rey, penned by journalist Olga Womat, for which Televisa reached an agreement with Editorial Planeta to acquire the rights, according to a statement from Univision and Televisa.

Without revealing many details about the series, like the release date or cast, the announcement comes a month after the death of the ranchera icon, who died December 12 in a hospital in his native Guadalajara. The cause of death was complications following surgery for a cervical spine injury after a fall last August. Fernández had remained hospitalized since then in stable but serious condition.

Univision and Televisa’s series on Fernández isn’t the only one that will see the light of day.

The Idol of the People, starring Mexican singer and actor Jaime Camil, is a Caracol TV production that will air on that Colombian television network and for which dating a recovering addictdating age laws.

A cultural icon to generations, the Jalisco-born artist was known for his swooning rancheras, like “Hermoso Cariño” and “Acá Entre Nos,” and timeless folk anthems that he serenaded fans with for decades. The Mexican cultural icon also holds the record for the most top 10s on Billboard’s Regional Mexican Albums chart to date, with a total of 49.

Over on the all-metric Hot Latin Songs tally — a blend of airplay, streams and digital sales — Fernández holds the record for the most entries for a regional Mexican solo act, with a total of 61.

Following his death, the catalog of songs by the man known as the “Charro de Huentitán’s” increased 721% globally in the days, according to reports to MRC Data. Collectively, his songs generated 97.3 million on-demand streams on December 12 and 13, compared to the 11.9 million streams accrued on December 10 and 11.

Born February 17, 1940, Fernández began his career singing on the streets of his hometown Guadalajara and went on to record more than 50 albums, starred in more than 2 dozen telenovelas and Mexican films, and became a touring titan always going onstage with his iconic traje de charro that included ornate sombreros and embroidered jackets.

Mariachi Divas Among the Acts Taking Part in Mariachi USA’s First-Ever Digital Festival

Mariachi Divas are among the acts taking their Mariachi USA show online…

For the first time in its 30 years of existence, the Mariachi USA festival is going digital and hosting a free two-hour special event in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, featuring the Grammy-winning all-female mariachi band based in Los Angeles.

Mariachi Divas

The virtual festival will take place on Sunday, October 11.

The festival, founded in 1990 by artist and producer Rodri J. Rodriguez, was held every summer at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, but because of COVID-19, this year’s event will look different.

“To know we weren’t having a show at the Bowl was heartbreaking,” Rodriguez tells Billboard. “We know what this festival means to our musicians, which is exposure, and our now multigenerational audience since we are now entertaining the grandkids and great grandkids of those who have supported us since day one.”

This year’s virtual fest, which will stream on YouTube, will feature mariachi ensembles from all over the U.S., including Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Los ReyesMariachi Lindas Mexicanas and Mariachi Nuevo Tecatitlán, to name a few.

“We still have to take music to the people and I needed to create something that would put a little bit of money in our musician’s pockets because they are hurting,” says Rodriguez.

Sidelined by the global pandemic, the mariachi community, which depends heavily on gigs in order to make an income, has reinvented the serenata. Now, wearing face masks in addition to their traditional charro suit and standing six feet apart from each other is the new norm.

Rodriguez also had to reinvent the festival in order to make it work. “We had to pre-record everyone because mariachi is very unique. It’s not just three or four bandmembers. Some groups have 16 and each state has different COVID-19 regulations,” Rodriguez explains. “Some recorded in backyards, horse ranches and empty theaters. I have been so impressed with how everyone stepped up. It’s exciting and motivating.”

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, Rodriguez hopes this virtual festival will remind the Latino community that, “there is pride in what we do and what we own. What we own is our heritage and our culture and no one can take that away from us,” she says. “With our concerts we deliver a very specific message and that’s a message of passion and the pride that we all carry within us and that cannot be silenced.”

The first-ever virtual Mariachi USA festival will stream here on Sunday starting at 8:00 pm ET.