STARZ TO DEVELOP NEW ORIGINAL DRAMA SERIES "GRINGO"
Written by Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing and Executive Produced by Steve Lee Jones
Beverly Hills, Calif. - September 20, 2013 - Starz announced today that the company will develop the one-hour drama "Gringo" for STARZ. The project, inspired by "The Shadow Catcher," the non-fiction book by highly decorated U.S. Immigration Officer Hipolito Acosta, will chronicle a Mexican-American Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent who infiltrates one of Mexico's most deadly drug and human smuggling cartels. "Gringo" is written by "Spartacus" franchise alums Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing and Executive Produced by Steve Lee Jones ("You Don't Know Jack") of Bee Holder Productions.
"'Gringo' provides a thrilling and uniquely personal look into international organized crime, never seen by the American public, from the viewpoint of a federal undercover agent on the front lines," said Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz. "We are excited to work with this team to develop 'Gringo' into what we think could make for incredibly compelling television."
Steve Lee Jones recently founded Bee Holder Production's TV Division. The company's credits include the award winning film, "You Don't Know Jack," and they are currently developing several projects including "Delorean," a miniseries with writer Adam Mazer; the television series "Rube," about the godfather of the porn industry, Reuben Sturman; "Being Reich," based on the thriller by Christopher Reich and reality skein "Guilty by Association" with Court TV reporter Beth Karas slated to host.
Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing's credits include "Spartacus: War of the Damned," "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," "Smallville" and "The Mob Doctor." They also co-wrote the first season of "Mortal Kombat: Legacy," as well as the Emmy-nominated live-action series "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn." They are currently Supervising Producers on "Black Sails," premiering on STARZ in January 2014.
Hipolito Acosta, who wrote "The Shadow Catcher" with Lisa Pulitzer and will consult on the project, is an expert on immigration laws, regulations, policy and procedures, and has conducted extensive undercover enforcement operations domestic ally and abroad. He was the District Director of I&NS at the U.S. Embassy, Mexico City in charge of all I&NS operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.. Over the past 30 years, Hipolito has worked with and for agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Services, U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, the American Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, the American Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and most recently as the District Director under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Houston. He is one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the agency and has received recognition and awards from many federal, local and state law enforcement agencies as well as heads of foreign states for outstanding service in enforcement and immigration services. He is a frequent guest commentator and analyst on a number of national and regional news programs.
The Helbing brothers are represented by CAA. Acosta is represented by The B.G. Dilworth Agency, Inc and Amy Schiffman of Intellectual Property Group.
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com.
Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ(R) and ENCORE(R) pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of June 30, 2013, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 56.9 million subscribers, including 21.8 million at STARZ, and 35.1 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S. STARZ(R) and ENCORE(R), along with Starz Networks' third network MOVIEPLEX(R), air more than 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television. Starz Distribution's home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties. Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.