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.”

Veronica Rodriguez Signs with Verve

Veronica Rodriguez has new representation…

The Mexican American writer, director and producer has signed with Verve.

Veronica RodriguezRodriguez’s feature directorial debut, the television movie Let’s Get Merried for VH1 and MTV, followed a hard-partying, down-on-her-luck holiday-hater who decided to get married at a Christmas-themed adventure park to a man she hadn’t yet met, netting her an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing.

She’s currently a co-producer on Netflix’s comedy series Freeridge, and previously staffed on Disney’s Gabby Duran & The Unsittables, also directing an episode of that series before staffing on HBO’s Betty. She also directed the short film Shoot, which was produced by and starred Insecure’s Jay Ellis.

The Bay Area native is a graduate of USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program who got her start working at Funny or Die, producing and directing original content for the platform including the viral hit, How To Become Legally Recognized As A F*ckboi. During her time at that company in 2018, she participated in the Sundance New Voices Lab, then being recognized as a Sundance Institute Latinx Fellow for 2019.

Rodriguez was also a part of the 2019 Viacom ViewFinder Director Program, and Refinery 29’s Shatterbox initiative. She continues to be represented by Writ Large.

Alijah Vera-Tucker Selected by New York Jets in First Round of 2021 NFL Draft

Alijah Vera-Tucker is officially headed to the National Football League

The 21-year-old part-Latino offensive lineman is the No. 14 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Alijah Vera-Tucker

Vera-Tucker was selected by the New York Jets in the First Round, the first Latino football player picked this year.

Vera-Tucker played tackle and guard at the University of Southern California (USC) for two seasons and was one of the best offensive linemen in the country.

He won the Morris Trophy in 2020 for being the nation’s best offensive lineman. Tucker was also a First-Team All-Pac 12 selection in 2020 and Second-Team All-Pac 12 in 2019.

Tucker secures the left side of the Jets’ offensive line, with Mekhi Becton anchoring down the left tackle position. This pick gives Zach Wilson, the Jets’ top pick, some much-needed protection.

 

Ferrera Thanks Donald Trump for Sending More Latino Voters to the Polls

America Ferrera reveals her Trump card…

The 31-year-old Honduran American actress has penned an open letter to Donald Trump, sarcastically “thanking’ him for the “incredibly ignorant and racist” remarks he made during his speech announcing his candidacy for president.

America Ferrera

Trump has sparked a universal firestorm with his comments about building a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out Mexican “rapists”, drug dealers, etc.

“I’m writing to say thank you,” writes the actress in the letter posted on Huffington Post Latino Voices. “You see, what you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined! Thank you for that,” she says. “Here we are pounding the pavement to get American Latinos to the polls, while your tactic proves most effective. Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.”

She goes on to write, “Thank you for reminding us that there remains an antiquated and endangered species of bigots in this country that we must continue to combat. Thank you for reminding us to not sit complacently at home on election day, but to run to the polls and proclaim that there is no place for your brand of racial politicking in our government. Thank you for sending out the rallying cry.”

The Ugly Betty was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor’s degree from USC in international relations.

Sanchez Agrees to a One-Year-Deal with the Philadelphia Eagles

Mark Sanchez is flying high after landing a new NFL gig…

The 27-year-old Mexican American pro football star, a former quarterback for the New York Jets, has signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mark Sanchez

The deal comes a week after the Eagles lost quarterback Michael Vick to the Jets.

Sanchez’s deal is for $2.25 million and includes a $750,000 signing bonus, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The contract also includes up to an additional $1.75 million in bonuses, bringing the maximum value of the deal to $4 million. Sanchez can achieve his bonuses by playing up to 90 percent of the Eagles’ offensive plays.

The Eagles have called a news conference for 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday to introduce Sanchez.

Sanchez, released last Friday as soon as Vick’s deal with the Jets was complete, arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday night and underwent a medical exam Thursday morning.

The parameters of the contract were set Monday, but the medical check was key because Sanchez is recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder — a torn labrum that caused him to miss the entire 2013 season.

Sanchez, who resumed throwing recently, is said to be about 80 percent healthy. His hope is to be ready for OTA practices later in the spring. He also had arthroscopic knee surgery last season.

Nick Foles is the Eagles’ starter, but Sanchez’s presence should add some intrigue. Sanchez is 33-29 as a starter, and he has four playoff victories. He was the presumed opening day starter last season after outplaying rookie Geno Smith in the preseason, but he injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ third preseason game.

Sanchez joins another former USC quarterback, Matt Barkley, on the Eagles’ depth chart. Presumably, Sanchez will be the No. 2.

Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, reached the AFC Championship Game in his first two seasons. The Jets regressed after that, going 14-18 over the next two seasons and missing the playoffs each time.

Ferrera’s Drama Project “Damascus” Gets Pilot Commitment at CBS

America Ferrera may soon be back on the small screen…

Three years after the series finale of ABC’s hit dramedy Ugly Betty, the 29-year-old Honduran American could return to television full-time as the star of another hour-long project.

America Ferrera

Entitled Damascus, the drama project, which sparked a heated bidding war, has landed at CBS with a put pilot commitment.

In addition to starring, Ferrera will also executive produce, with CBS Television Studios coming on board as studio.

Written by Nick Osborne, Damascus is the story of a crusading nun (portrayed by Ferrera) who practices law on behalf of the least fortunate, and has her beliefs tested when her life collides with an elitist corporate lawyer. As the two set out to help those in need of justice, they come up against a secretive and powerful organization that’s determined to destroy them.

The project expands Ferrera’s relationship with CBS and CBS Television Studios as her only major post-Ugly Betty television role has been an arc on their drama The Good Wife.

Ferrera had been highly sought after for pilots in the past three seasons but had been focused on feature film roles and finishing college as her USC studies were interrupted by her casting in Ugly Betty, a role that earned her an Emmy award.

She recently wrapped work on Chavez and XY.