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Karen Barroeta

Telemundo is currently developing 15 productions

Karen Barroeta, EVP of Production and Development of Telemundo Global Studios and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, mentioned that, to date, they have 15 productions in development. “One, Mujer de Oro, starting in Miami in early 2024, and working on another with a partner to start it in Colombia. We are very active in development and production, which is fun,” she said.

Barroeta, who has overseen numerous productions, including La Suerte de Loli, Malverde, Padres a la Fuerza, El Conde, Pasión de Gavilanes, El Señor de los Cielos 8, and Vuelve a Mí, is kicking off pre-production of El Señor de los Cielos 9 to start production in Mexico in mid-September.

She said they are «super happy» with the production in Mexico. “The production value we achieved in El Señor de los Cielos 8 was spectacular, and we met the budget. In addition, with all the regulations that our NBCUniversal company requires, more than what is required in any production, we are achieving it on time and budget.”

She stressed that they feel «super comfortable” having total control of production in Mexico. Before settling in Mexico, they always led the hiring of the key teams, the production design, casting, and development, but the day-to-day execution was done by a third party. “When you already have that, the rest is easier. We created the administrative processes in El Señor de los Cielos 8, which is the most tedious. Now it’s like following the process or improving it if necessary. It is just working on the backend of production -finances, accounting, operations- we are super happy to take it ourselves.”

Barroeta mentioned that the production of Vuelve a Mí is in its final weeks of recording at the Telemundo Center in Miami. She explained they took to Mexico the sets production team to ensure that they sent the production team to Mexico to ensure they were immersed in the culture. “They were greatly influenced because although we had to build a house where the wealthy usually live, we also had to find a way to create a neighborhood. It was crucial to be very authentic, and we did it. We have been fostering and creating a team for the last two decades that finally has matured. It is the first time we achieved something so Mexican here in Miami.” Vuelve a Mí debuts on Monday, October 9 at 9pm.

Vuelve a Mí is a story that takes place in Mexico. “However, we made an interesting combination: part of the first episodes on location in Mexico, and the other at our headquarters at Telemundo Center and tricking some locations in Miami to give it a Mexican look and feel.”

She recalled that Vuelve a Mí is original content born in the pandemic. “At that moment, we said: ‘If we cannot produce, we will devote ourselves to development’. Then, the idea to produce a story for adults but with a child as a main character was on the table. Children always touch the hearts of adults and connect them with being parents, which is common and works in all markets. It was nice to assemble the team from the search for the idea. It took two years to create this story. We had never told a story of the kidnap of a child.”

About Telemundo’s production services to third parties, Barroeta mentioned it is overseen by the Operations team of Andrea Berry, EVP of Operations and Technology at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises.

“They are offering this great building to service. That has to play according to our schedule. But there are times when some studios have a month of availability, and it is important that the industry in Miami – advertising, music video, or even fiction – is aware of this to maximize this wonderful operation and structure. It is what must be done as a company,” she said.

In innovation, Barroeta mentioned that they are testing a technological resource called In-Camera Visual Effects (ICVFX) they saw at NAB this year. This technology allows one to recreate 360 a location without being physically in the place. “We have done some wonderful tests. In the production of Vuelve a Mí, we are doing something small and relatively simple in Spain, but it will look cool because it will be the first time we are using it. For the next production, we are going big; for example, someone is falling off a cliff in Los Angeles, but they are here in a studio. The cool thing is that it is 360, where you move the camera is the location, it is impressive.”

Maribel Ramos-Weiner