Shortly after the announcement of the Eva Longoria Telenovela comedy pilot project for NBC, it was quickly upgraded, becoming a straight to series pickup. The network has begun to round out the rest of its cast, adding three new series regulars to the mix. Amaury Nolasco, Jencarlos Canela, and Diana Maria Riva have just signed on as series regulars. Nolasco (Prison Break) will reportedly play Rodrigo, the villainous character on the show-within-a-show in the forthcoming comedy. Meanwhile, Riva (The Bridge) is set as Ana Maria’s best friend, Mia, and Canela (Hunted by Night) will play Xavier, another telenovela superstar and Latin heartthrob. As the name implies, Telenovela will offer a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of a Spanish soap opera.
As previously reported, Longoria will star as Ana Maria, the star of Latin America’s most beloved telenovela who strives to stay on top in a world where there is as much drama off-screen as there is on-camera. Longoria maintains that the show is for all audiences. “Our show is not a Latin show,” Longoria said at a recent panel discussion. “The perspective is basically mine. It’s about a telenovela star who doesn’t speak Spanish.” The series certainly fits into the rapidly growing roster of cultural-themed comedies currently on the small screen. Aside from the CW’s Jane the Virgin, ABC has also recently had success this season with the family sitcom, Black-ish. The network also has Eddie Huang’s 13-episode comedy, Fresh Off the Boat, due to premiere on February 10. The show, which is only the second Asian American family sitcom in television history to make it to network prime time, has been relatively well-received among critics. A premiere date for the 13-episode first season of Telenovela has not yet been scheduled.