The creator of ‘Casi Angeles,’ ‘Rebelde Way’ and other international tween TV hits talks about how she builds music franchises around her shows.
Long before the term “360” became part of the U.S. music industry’s vocabulary, Argentine TV producer/composer/writer Cris Morena had perfected the concept.
Since the mid-’90s, Morena has been one of Latin America’s leading producers of youth-oriented TV programming, specializing in tween-targeted shows that include a prominent musical component.
Her hit Argentine TV series “Chiquititas,” “Floricienta,” “Casi Angeles” and “Rebelde Way” (which spawned the Mexican TV hit “RBD” and the group of the same name) have been broadcast in 35 countries. Morena also licenses the formats, which have resulted in local-language productions in more than a dozen countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Israel and Turkey.
Morena creates multimedia franchises around each show that include top-selling albums (released via deals with such majors as Sony BMG and EMI), theatrical productions, magazines, merchandising, music publishing (Mardi Gras Publishing), tours, a retail store in Argentina and a recently launched Internet channel. Since 2002, Morena has run her own TV/music production company Cris Morena Group.
Most recently, Morena and her production and creative partners, RGB Entertainment (run by her ex-husband, impresario Gustavo Yankelevich) signed a three-year deal with Mexican media giant Televisa for the international exploitation and distribution of Cris Morena Group programming (billboard.biz, Oct. 9).
Morena’s current projects include an 80-episode mobile-only series called “Atrapados”; her first English-language series, “Jake & Blake,” which she screened at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes in early October; and a new family-oriented musical series, “B&B.”
What is your creative process when developing one of these series?
I first take two or three trips around the world and create visual images. Then, I go to a house I have in San Martin de Los Andes [in Argentina], in the mountains, and I take a lot of DVDs with me and I listen to lots of music. And while I do that, I compile those images and I start to write the show. I do it by hand, on a notebook, and then I turn that in to my team, and they develop the scenery, costumes, choreography.
But it always begins with the songs. When I arrive at San Martin, the songs are already penned and the title and the concept of the show are defined. For example, in the 2009 edition of “Casi Angeles,” we’ll be talking about a different world, a world that is growing darker and we have to choose sides.
Given the current state of the business, how has your relationship with record labels changed?
Click here for the full article, including what role albums play in her business, how she generates the bulk of her revenue and more.