Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz Extends Overall Deal with Sony Pictures Television

Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz is staying with Sony…

The half-Colombian American television producer, director and writer has extended her overall deal with Sony Pictures Television.

Brigitte Muñoz-LiebowitzMuñoz-Liebowitz is the executive producer and showrunner of Gordita Chronicles, the coming-of-age HBO Max comedy series, which premiered this past week.

Under the new multi-year pact, Muñoz-Liebowitz will continue to develop scripted comedy series across cable and streaming, as well as run Gordita Chronicles if the series, which is drawing solid early reviews, is renewed for a second season.

Muñoz-Liebowitz already has a number of projects in the works, including Birthright, which she is co-writing with Lindsay Golder.

Created by Claudia Forestieri, Gordita Chronicles is set in 1980s Miami and tells the story of the Castellis who move from the Dominican Republic in pursuit of the American dream.

In shepherding Gordita Chronicles, which Muñoz-Liebowitz executive produces alongside Forestieri as well as Josh Berman, Jennifer Robinson and Chris King of SPT-based Osprey Productions, Eva Longoria, who directed the pilot, and Zoe Saldana, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldana for Cinestar Pictures, she draws on her personal experience.

Muñoz-Liebowitz, who grew up in Santa Clarita, CA, is the daughter of a Colombian immigrant mother who came to the US when she was 12, and a New York Jew father. Raised by her mom, dad and her Colombian grandmother, who only spoke Spanish, in a predominantly white neighborhood, “I was one of the brownest people in my class and the only person with two Zs and a tilde in their name, and I had very much a feeling of being the weirdo outsider,” Muñoz-Liebowitz said. “A lot of the things I really connected to when I read the original script were those feelings, and I also really saw my own family in the story of the Castellis and Gordita Chronicles, so many of the stories my mom had told me about when she came to the United States were some of the same exact stories in the show.”

With a Florida immigrant family pursuing the American dream at the center and a story told through the eyes of a school-age child, Gordita Chronicles draws parallels to ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Besides the Castellis coming straight from their country of origin vs. Washington DC where the Huangs moved from with their U.S.-born children, “our tone is slightly different,” Muñoz-Liebowitz said. “We tried to, not speaking about content necessarily, but we really tried to go for a different sort of comedy style, which is a bit more cinematic, referencing a lot of the movies that we grew up watching in the 80s that we looked at and were aspiring to when we thought of the American dream, the John Hughes movies and Chris Columbus films.”

Those include 16 Candles, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as well as Home Alone, which came out a few years later.

“The pacing also is quite a bit slower,” Muñoz-Liebowitz said, adding that Season 1 chronicles the family’s first few months in the new country.

Muñoz-Liebowitz says she’s always wanted to be a TV writer ever since she was a child. With an educator mother and a small business owner father, she didn’t have any connections in the business, so “I had to figure it all out for myself,” she sad.

She finished USC with a degree in screenwriting but then switched gears by going to graduate school at Columbia University for producing.

“I discovered after going to USC that at that time, the kinds of stories that I wanted to tell were not attractive to studios because they were stories about people of color, that my that kind of humor wasn’t really à la mode.”

She worked briefly as a line producer and a production manager in New York in indie film and commercials while taking comedy classes. Her first television job was as a script coordinator under Jonah Nolan and Greg Plageman on the pilot for Person Of Interest and then she became a writers assistant on the series, moving to Los Angeles.

“So I actually learned about TV writing from drama writers on a sci-fi procedural,” Muñoz-Liebowitz said.

During her time on the series, Muñoz-Liebowitz kept applying to the NBC Writers On the Verge program while taking classes at the Groundlings and Improv Olympic West. She got into the NBC program on her third try. Her first job out of that was on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which led to a string of writing gigs on TBS’ People of Earth, NBC’s Abby’s, Disney+’s Diary of a Future President, HBO Max’s Love Life, and the Sony TV-produced One Day At a Time, on which she served as a Co-Executive Producer.

One Day At a Time was a wonderful experience because it was, I think, the first really safe space to be able to be myself entirely as a woman Latinx comedy writer, and watching [co-creator/EP] Gloria Calderón Kellett just be herself and push for the show and the content that she wanted was really inspiring.”

Muñoz-Liebowitz’s work on One Day at a TIme also got the attention of Sony TV brass who signed her to her first overall deal in 2020.

“Brigitte was a superstar for us on One Day At A Time and we quickly made a development deal with her to solidify our relationship,” said Glenn Adilman, EVP Comedy Development, Sony Pictures Television. “She did an incredible job running the amazing first season of Gordita Chronicles for HBO Max, where she helped build a very strong room of diverse writers and supported creator Claudia Forestieri’s great vision. We are beyond excited to have Brigitte tell her stories and continue our wonderful relationship together.”

Those stories include Birthright, about a Latinx woman who converts to Judaism for her fiance, then gets dumped at the altar and has to decide, am I still Jewish?

“It’s a comedy about identity and the different spaces we can we can fit into in our lives,” said Muñoz-Liebowitz who produces the project with her co-writer Golder as well as Israeli company MA Productions.

While all of her existing projects in development are comedy, Muñoz-Liebowitz said that she loves watching dramas and is open to revisiting her TV beginnings by tackling a drama under her new deal with Sony TV.

“Sony has been so incredibly supportive of all the projects that I brought to them,” she said. “They’ve been such wonderful creative partners, I’ve just felt like they’ve had my back and supported my vision.”

Zoë Saldaña Voicing Spanish Episodes of Roku’s Nature Series “Mamas”

Zoë Saldaña is reporting for Mamas duty…

The 43-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress will form part of Roku’s original documentary series Mamas, which debuts on Friday, May 6, just before Mother’s Day.

Zoë SaldañaThe nature series follows powerful matriarchs of the animal kingdom, spotlighting the universality of motherhood, and exploring what mothers of any species will do to protect their young.

Mamas will feature 14 short-form episodes ranging from 6-8 minutes in length.

The series is available in English and Spanish, with the English version voiced by Connie Britton; the Spanish by Saldaña.

The series is produced by Plimsoll Productions, Deep Blue Productions, and Cinestar Pictures, with Britton, Saldaña, Martha Holmes, Andrew Jackson, Elyse Klaits, Mariel Saldaña, and Cisely Saldaña serving as executive producers.

Species featured in the series include potter wasps, grizzly bears, hummingbirds, yellow baboons, cheetahs, lions, wildebeests, black-backed jackals, strawberry dart frogs, praying mantis, African elephants, hyenas, meerkats, toque macaques, and Tomson’s gazelles.

The series features scenery and landscapes from the forests of Sri Lanka to deserts in Africa.

Mamas dives into the enchanting and challenging lives of mothers in the wild, and the powerful relationships these animals have with their children,” said Brian Tannenbaum, head of alternative originals at Roku. “Connie Britton and Zoë Saldaña take us through the captivating world of a mother’s protective instincts and loyalty to their young. It truly is a must-see documentary series that The Roku Channel is excited to share with our viewers.”

Olivia Goncalves to Star in Comedy Pilot “The Gordita Chronicles”

Olivia Goncalves is ready to chronicle in Hollywood…

After a lengthy search, HBO Max has cast the Latina newcomer in the lead role in The Gordita Chronicles, its single-camera family comedy pilot from Josh Berman’s Osprey Productions, Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures and Sony Pictures Television.

Olivia Goncalves

Written by Claudia Forestieri and directed by Eva LongoriaThe Gordita Chronicles centers on Carlota “Cucu” Castelli (Goncalves), a willful 12-year-old Dominican immigrant with a heart of gold. Cucu leaves her home and her parochial school in Santo Domingo to live in Miami and pursue the American Dream during the hedonistic 1980s after her father, a marketing executive with a large airline, gets transferred there. Cucu meets head-on the challenges of being an immigrant in a strange new world with humor, bravado and some really bad choices.

Brigitte Munoz Liebowitz serves as executive producer and showrunner. Longoria executive produces via her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. Saldana, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldana executive produce for Cinestar Pictures. Sony Pictures Television is the studio.

Eva Longoria to Direct & Executive Produce HBO Max’s “The Gordita Chronicles” Pilot

Eva Longoria has lined up her next directorial project…

The 45-year-old Mexican American actress/producer will direct and executive produce The Gordita Chronicles pilot at HBO Max.

Eva Longoria

The single-camera family comedy hails from Josh Berman’s Osprey ProductionsZoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures, and Sony Pictures Television, where Berman’s Osprey Prods is under a deal.

Written by Claudia Forestier, The Gordita Chronicles centers on a willful, chubby, 12-year-old Dominican who struggles to fit into hedonistic 1980s Miami as her family pursues the American Dream.

Brigitte Munoz Liebowitz serves as executive producer and showrunner. Longoria executive produces via her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. Zoe Saldana, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldana executive produce for Cinestar Pictures.

Sony Pictures Television is the studio.

Longoria will be making her film directorial debut with Searchlight’s Flamin’ Hot, an inspiring biopic about the janitor turned executive who created the flaming hot Cheetos snack. She’ll also direct the workplace comedy 24/7 and star alongside Kerry Washington for Universal and direct the action comedy Spa Day for Sony.

The former Desperate Housewives star made her television directing debut on Devious Maids in 2014. Her television producing/directing credits also include ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Versus, and episodes of Black-ish, The Mick and Telenovela.

Longoria made her pilot directing debut with the CW’s Glorious.

 

HBO Max Developing Claudia Forestieri’s “The Gordita Chronicles”

Claudia Forestieri is getting personal on her next project…

HBO Max has put in development The Gordita Chroniclesa coming-of-age kids and family comedy from the half-Dominican writer, Josh Berman’s Osprey ProductionsZoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, where Osprey is under a deal.

Claudia Forestieri

Written by Forestieri, The Gordita Chronicles, loosely inspired by Forestieri’s life, centers around a Latina reporter looking back on her childhood as a chubby, willful and reluctant Dominican immigrant growing up with her eccentric family in 1980s Miami.

Berman and Chris Kingexecutive produce for Osprey Productions. Zoe Saldana, Mariel Saldanaand Cisely Saldanaexecutive produce for Cinestar Pictures. Forestieri is co-executive producer. Sony Pictures Television is the studio.

Forestieri was a producer for Telemundo’s L.A. affiliate where she earned five local Emmys and a GLAAD Media award for her work covering the Latino community. She is an alumnus of HBO’s Access Writing FellowshipNALIP’s Latino Writers Lab and NBC’s Writers on the Vergeprogram. Forestieri is a writer on the upcoming Selena: The Seriesfor Netflix and previously wrote on Freeform’s Good Trouble.

Saldana is next set to star and executive produce From Scratch, a limited series from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshinefor Netflix.