Cris Morena Born 23 August 1956
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Occupation Television producer, former actress, former television presenter, composer, musician, songwriter, writer, former fashion model Years active 1973–2010. Spouse Gustavo Yankelevich (m. 1972–1995, divorced) Children Romina Yankelevich (deceased)
María Cristina De Giacomi (born August 23, 1956, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, professionally known as Cris Morena) is an Argentine awarded television producer, actress, television presenter, composer, musician, songwriter, writer, former fashion model and CEO of Cris Morena Group. She is one of the most successful producers in the country and is the creator of Argentina's most successful youth-oriented shows such as Jugate Conmigo, Chiquititas, Rebelde Way, Floricienta, Alma Pirata, and Casi Ángeles. Until 2001, she worked alongside Telefe but since Rebelde Way in 2002 she has her own independent production company Cris Morena Group. She is the mother of the actress Romina Yan (†), and of the television producer Tomás Yankelevich.
Until 1991, she was mostly known as a successful actress due to her role in iconic comedy shows such as Mesa de Noticias and Amigos son los Amigos and also as a songwriter, thanks to the hits she wrote for children show host Flavia Palmiero alongside Carlos Nilson. However, in 1991 she created, presented and produced Jugate Conmigo which was a huge hit and, since then, she has created incredibly successful shows, mostly targeted to children and teenagers. Her programs, including Chiquititas and Rebelde Way, were heavily panned by critics but marked a generation and had huge repercussion and success not only in Argentina but also in several other countries such as Brazil, Israel, Spain, Uruguay, Mexico and Chile.
Cris Morena has officially retired as a public figure. In 1995, she retired as a host with her last hosting gig being Jugate Con Todo and a year before, after starring in Quereme, she retired as an actress. She rarely appears on television and on magazines anymore and, when she does, it is to promote her productions. Even though she is not usually seen on the media, she is a well-known and recognizable brand in Argentina, with a huge fanbase of kids and teens and TV shows geared to young people stands out if they have her name attached to it.
Currently, she produces the fourth season of highly successful teen-oriented show Casi Ángeles. Her yet to be released show Jake & Blake is the first show with an all-Argentine staff shot entirely in English and will be distributed and aired by Disney Channel. Unreleased projects includes Atr@pados, a fiction for cellphones and Niños de Cristal, a dramatic mini-series about abused children based on real cases. Her other business ventures includes online TV channel Yups TV and Fans Store, a store that sells exclusive Casi Ángeles merchandising and also offers workshops.
Music is an important element in all of her shows and she is a composer herself. Her productions have accumulated over 30 platinum certifications and she, alongside Carlos Nilson (which was her songwriting partner until 2006), is the most profitable songwriter ever in SADAIC's (Argentine songwriters association) history.
A huge fan of Broadway musicals, Cris Morena is also known for musicals with million dollar budgets based on her television production which are usually presented in Teatro Gran Rex in Buenos Aires. With the complete cast of the TV shows, those musicals break attendance records every Winter vacation (July in Argentina). With Chiquititas alone she has sold 1.5 million tickets.
Her first theatrical production not based on any of her TV productions will be the Hispanic version of musical Spring Awakening which will debut in Bueno Aires' Avenida Corrientes in 2010. Casting is currently underway. She also has the rights to produce the musical in the other two biggest Spanish-speaking markets: Mexico and Spain.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Composer
- 3 Producer
- 4 Future projects
- 5 Awards
- 6 Her productions
- 7 Live trivia
- 8 The actors of Cris Morena
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and career
Cris Morena was born María Cristina De Giacomi in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the youngest of four siblings and grew up in Palermo, Buenos Aires neighborhood with her upper middle-class family. Her father was an engineer and her mother was a sociologist. She studied at a traditional private religious school. When she was 17, she started working as a fashion model and became the popular face for Lee Jeans in the country. While she was modeling, she also studied social assistance in university and militated alongside Padre Carlos Mugica during the dictatorship in Argentina.
When she was 17 years old, she was selected to host the young-oriented show Voltop. While working the program, she met Gustavo Yankelevich, which was part of the staff, and they fell in love. In 1974, Cris and Gustavo married and, after giving birth to Romina and Tomas, Cris decided to retire so she could take care of the two.
With her husband unemployed due to discriminating polices implanted by the next Argentine dictatorship (Gustavo is a Jew), she returned to work doing underground theater and soon got a job at a telenovela called Dulce Fugitiva. She played Laura Moreno. Afterwards, she decided to adopt Laura's last name as her artistic name and became Cris Morena.
In 1980 Cris Morena, who was already a pianist, decided to start writing music. To this days she is the most successful songwriter in Argentina and the one who made most money in copyrights and albums sales in SADAIC's history (Argentina's songwriters association) alongside her former songwriting partner Carlos Nilson.
Soon, her acting career started to take-off and in 1984, she was one of the stars of iconic comedy show Mesa de Noticias.
Later, she also had a starring role in Amigos son los Amigos. Her last appearance as an actress was starring the telenovela Quereme in 1994 and, afterwards, she retired from acting. In 1995, she also retired as a host and as a public figure and became a full-time producer and songwriter. In a talk for TEA Imagen students, she revealed she believed her successful past in acting was due to her charisma, not her acting skills since, in her opinion, she was never a particularly good actress.
Cris Morena married Gustavo Yankelevich in December 1974. Her husband became the producer of some of the biggest hits in the country, including Mesa de Noticias, and in 1990 he became director of Telefe and transformed the channel in Argentina's highest-rated station. He was directly or indirectly responsible for some of Argentina's biggest television shows including Susana Giménez, Showmatch, among many others. In 2000, after leaving Telefe, Gustavo created his own production company: RGB Entertainment. One year later, so she could produce Rebelde Way, Cris Morena also founded her own company, Cris Morena Group. Since 2004, starting with Floricienta, RGB is a co-producer of all Cris Morena's projects, alongside CMG. RGB is responsible for the business part while Cris Morena Group deal with the creative side. Gustavo and Cris are divorced since 1996. Their divorce was what inspired Cris to write Corazón con Agujerito, which became one of her most popular and iconic songs (it was included at La Música de Chiquititas vol. 2, released in 1996).
Their two children, Romina Yan, who died in 2010, and Tomás Yankelevich, are also involved in show-business.
Romina was an actress. She started her career as one of the co-hosts in Jugate Conmigo and became extremely popular playing Belén, the central figure in her mother's hugely successful children-oriented telenovela Chiquititas, in which she starred from '95 to '98. She also starred as Belén in the movie Chiquititas: Rincón de luz in 2001. With her mother, she did Jugate Conmigo (1991–1993), Chiquititas (1995–1998), Amor Mío (2005) and B&B: Bella y Bestia (2008) and with her father in Playhouse Disney (2001–2003) and the soap Abra tus Ojos (2003). She co-created Amor Mío, her biggest hit since Chiquititas, with her mother and the show was co-produced by her father and directed by Tomás, her brother.
Tomás attended University of Southern California film school. He works at RGB and at Cris Morena Group. He was the director of Bandana's Vivir Intentando and directed several episodes of Amor Mío and B&B: Bella y Bestia. He's also working on two others CMG and RGB co-productions: the cellphone show Atr@pados and the series Niños de Cristal. In December 2008 he married Sofía Recca. On September 28, 2010; her daughter Romina Yan died of a heart attack aged 36.
Although Cris is an extremely successful TV producer and businesswoman, she claims the position she feels the most comfortable in is as a composer. Since the 1970s, she has composed for several of Argentina's and Latin America's biggest artists.
She is the lyricist of every single song in her productions. Music is a huge part of her shows and CDs with the songs are released yearly and are huge hits. Her productions garned over 30 platinum records from Chiquititas, Verano del '98, Jugate Conmigo, Rebelde Way, Casi Ángeles, among others.
During the 1990s, Morena was responsible for the music in most Telefe shows, including Brigada Cola, Ritmo de la Noche, Videomatch, Cebollitas (97–98) and Dibu: Mi Família es un Dibujo and also for Telefe's advertising campaigns and jingles. During the early 90's, alongside Carlos Nilson, she was responsible for the music in Flavia Palmiero's children show.
She is the composer who made the most money in SADAIC's history (Argentina's songwriters association), alongside her songwriting partner Carlos "Rocky" Nilson, who composed almost every single song with her until 2006.
After two very important and memorable roles on television, Cris Morena decided to give production a try.
She created, presented and was the executive producer of Jugate Conmigo, which debuted in 1991. The show concept was a mix of game show and variety show targeted to teenagers. Cris was the main host and the rest of the cast was comprised by a group of ten attractive teenagers, five of each sex.
Soon after its debut, the show became a huge sensation and the teenagers who formed the cast became overnight teen idols.
The show was taped in front of a live audience formed by teenagers. The main part of the show was the games with huge prizes that were played by the audience and the young castmembers themselves. It also had sketches, musical segments and celebrity guests.
Another important element was music. Every year, a new CD was released with about 10 new songs sung by the cast. They sung about teen issues such as gossip, jealously, love, first sexual experiences, kisses and friends. All the songs were composed by Cris herself alongside her songwriting partner Carlos Nilson.
Every single album achieved platinum and in 1993 and 1994 La Música de Jugate Conmigo vol. 3 and La Música de Jugate Conmigo vol. 4 were the highest-selling album of the year in the country according to CAPIF. The show was taped in front of a live audience of about 700 preteens and teens.
In 1992, the young cast, alongside Cris, did a series of concerts in Estadio Obras in Buenos Aires.
In 1993, the cast of the first two seasons said goodbye to the show and were replaced by a new bunch. The new group was extremely well received.
Cris Morena acted for the last time in 1994: alongside the teens from the first two seasons of Jugate, she starred in the prime-time series Quereme. The show didn't perform as well as the channel hoped and was canceled. It was Cris last venture as an actress.
In the third season of Jugate, a segment of the show was dedicated to weekly telenovelas starring members of the cast. It was Cris' first steps towards producing fiction. Quereme was her first fiction which was followed by Life College, a telenovela that aired inside the fourth season of Jugate Conmigo about teenagers living in an elite boarding school. The argument of the show was similar to Cris' future hit Rebelde Way (2002).
Instead of a fifth season, the show got a complete makeover. It became weekly, being aired every Sunday, instead of daily and had the name changed to Jugate con Todo (1995) becoming a big variety show targeted to the entire family instead of teenagers exclusively. The show was co-hosted by Cris and Manuel Wirtz and wasn't well received, which prompted the show to change its time slot, co-host and its format which became increasingly similar to the original Jugate conmigo format. Jugate con Todo lasted only five months and it was aired for the last time at the same week Chiquititas debuted in August 1995. In fact, the Chiquititas cast were the guests in the last show. After retiring as an actress in 1994, she also decided to give up as host and since Jugate con Todo she became a full-time producer.
According to fan club Los Ángeles de Cris, Cris Morena toyed with the possibility of a new version of the show for 2004, but the project never materialized.
It was the first of many Cris-produced shows to be commercial successes but at the same time heavily panned by critics. At the time, she was criticized for acting like a teenager when she was over 30 years old. Even though the show was rating success and moved millions of albums and merchandising, many critics declared the show was only on the air because Cris was the wife of Telefe's chairman. Even though it was not praised by critics at the time, Jugate Conmigo is one of the most remembered shows of the early 90s and the songs marked a generation. It was also there Michel Brown and Luciano Castro were first discovered.
Chiquititas was a kids-oriented soap opera, aired weekdays at 6 p.m. from 1995 to 2000, and weekly in 2001. It is one of the most popular franchises ever in Argentina's television and was what consolidated Cris as a renowned and powerful producer. It was the first television franchise in the country and changed the way local shows were produced, sold and exported.
The show debuted on August 1995 at the same time slot as Jugate, weekdays at 6 p.m. on Telefe.
The soap was about a girls' orphanage, Rincón de Luz (Corner of Light), localized in Buenos Aires and the girls' dramas, first loves, frustration of not having families among other issues. The leading character and the children mentor was Belén, played by Cris' daughter Romina Yan. Villain for the first three seasons was Carmen, a very cruel woman who was one of the owners of the orphanage.
The title of the show is Chiquititas (Tiny Girls; the official English title is Tiny Angels) due to the fact the orphanage was initially girls only. During the second season, boys were introduced and by the third season the number of boys were the same as girls and they both shared the spotlight, with romance among the cast being one of the shows' biggest themes.
The third season finale was shot on Walt Disney World and one important character, Mili, the central orphan, said goodbye to the show and the actress who portrayed her, Agustina Cherri, went on to star in Verano del '98, a teen soap developed also by Cris. For each new season, a soundtrack album with about ten new songs was released. Exactly like Jugate a few years earlier those albums were huge-sellers. Every song had its own music video, which was aired inside the show.
During the third season (1997), Rincón de Luz orphanage was closed and re-opened on a new, even more picturesque house. Also, some of the more heavy and melodramatic storylines were dropped.
In the fourth season (1998), the show got a new logo and graphics. Starring alongside Romina Yan was Facundo Arana who played her romantic partner. The fourth season was the highest rated season of Chiquititas during its seven year run, and Arana went on to become Argentina's most popular leading actor and one of the biggest names in the country. The fourth season album was one of the best-selling albums in Sony Music Argentina's history. In 1998, Romina Yan, Facundo Arana and a good chunk of the young cast were ready to say goodbye and the 4th season finale was the end of a cycle, with Belen (Yan) and Alejo (Arana) adopting all kids and a final scene with Belen narrating how each one of the orphans grew up to be successful and happy individuals. The last scene had they all on a huge ship in the middle of the sea singing the song En el Comienzo. Romina Yan and Facundo Arana reunited in 2001 to star in the movie version of the soap which was a huge success.
In 1999, the show started over with a new setting (now Rincón de Luz is an orphanage located in a farm and action alternates between the 'granja' and the big mansion localized right beside it) and a whole new bunch of actors. Some actors from previous seasons, like Camila Bordonaba, Benjamín Rojas, Santiago Stieben, Guillermo Santa Cruz and Nadia Di Cello continued in the show playing new characters. Grecia Colmenares played Ana, which replaced Belen as the central figure. Darío Grandinetti played her romantic interest Juan and Marcela Kloosterboer played Candela, the main character in the young cast.
The link between the 5th season and the original Rincón de Luz orphanage was El Libro de la Vida (The Book of Life), a scrapbook made by Belen and the kids in the fourth season where they told their story. This book was found by the new orphans on the beginning of the season and that's why, when Joaquin decides to give them a home, they decide to call the farm/orphanage Rincón de Luz, a reference to the orphanage with the orphans full of hopes who had their dreams come true.
At the season 5 finale the orphanage is burned down by the villain and most kids manage to escape and, following a shooting star, end up at the now abandoned original Rincón de Luz orphanage (the one used in the third and fourth seasons but completely reformed inside). The sixth season stars Romina Gaetani as Luz.
Romina Gaetani, similarly to what happened to Facundo Arana, went on to become a very popular actress following her stint as the main actress in the sixth season of Chiquititas, her first TV role.
The year of 2001 was bittersweet for Chiquititas' fans. At one side, Argentina was going through a huge crisis and the TV channels were also affected. Because of that, Telefe (which was not directed by Yankelevich anymore) decided to cut the budget for the show, a decision that wasn't well received by Cris Morena. Since season 6 ended with a cliffhanger and the first few episodes were already shot, production resumed and the show became weekly. As a consequence, the number of episodes was severely shortened and the planned storylines which were supposed to spawn for over 100 chapters had to be rewritten in a very short space of time. In addition, because of disagreements between Cris Morena and Claudio Vilarruel (Telefe's new director) the new season only saw the light in June, while it usually started in March (the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere).
On the other hand, fans had more Chiquititas than ever before: besides the new episodes on Sundays, a retrospective of previous seasons was aired on the show traditional time slot (weekdays, 6 p.m.), a movie version starring Romina Yan and Facundo Arana (stars of the show most popular season, the 4th) was released in July (winter vacations in Argentina), Agustina Cherri was back as Mili on the show and the usual musical was on Teatro Gran Rex from June to September, including a series of special concerts with Romina Yan reprising her role as Belén (as a tie-in for the movie, which starred her).
Besides the show and the albums, Chiquititas was a huge franchise that spawned over 300 products: monthly magazine, clothing line, cosmetics, toys, bicycles, electronics, apparel among many other items. It was the first big franchise in Argentine television and it paved the way for all the others to come.
Since music was such a huge part of the show and Cris is a huge admirer of Broadway musicals, it was decided Chiquititas would be transformed into a live musical with the entire original cast which would occupy the Teatro Gran Rex in Avenidas Corrientes in Buenos Aires during the entire month of July (winter vacations in Argentina). It was such a big success, the performances went on until September. A new musical was made every year, from 1996 to 2001, and every year the live concert, produced by Cris, would wow audiences with big effects never before seen on Argentina and concerts with budgets well over 1 million dollars. Shows were held daily during winter vacations and during the weekends in the last few weeks of June, August and September .
During the month of July two shows were presented daily and they sold out so fast in 1998 a third daily concert, at mid-day, had to be added to satisfy the demand. In fact, the '98 season of concerts broke Teatro Gran Rex attendance record and to this days the record still belongs to that production. While the storylines for the live version of Chiquititas were extremely simple and almost non-existent, the show was hugely impressive with its Broadway-like sets, wardrobes, high budgets and special effects. Most concerts were sold out and it was the top grossing live event in Argentina every year, from 96 to 2001.
The 1998 musical holds the record of the biggest Teatro Gran Rex ticket seller, with 250,000 tickets sold.
Chiquititas is one of the most remembered pop culture phenomenons of the 1990s in Argentina.
Chiquititas was also heavily critically panned by media vehicle and associations during its seven years. The content of the show was criticized for being questionable, the songs were criticized for being heavily commercial, the show was criticized for being hypocritical, overly sexual and for showing an orphanage as a beautiful mansion full of expensively dressed stunning kids. Despite the lack of support by critics, Chiquititas had seven seasons, one feature film, over 400 licensed products, two international remakes, two spin-offs and over 1 million tickets sold during its six seasons at Teatro Gran Rex in Buenos Aires (the top-grossing live acts ever in the country). It was the first franchise in Argentina's television history and modified forever the way local productions were exported. To this day, it still on air in Latin America on cable channel Boomerang.
Chiquititas around the world
In 1997, Brazil's number-2 net, SBT, made a deal with Telefe to produce its own version of Chiquititas. The show had an all-Brazilian cast but was shot in Buenos Aires, at the same studios were the original version was produced. Flavia Monteiro was cast as Carolina (Brazil's equivalent to Belen) and Fernanda Souza was Mili.
Right from the beginning, the show became a huge sensation among kids, becoming SBT's most popular show. The cast caused mass hysteria on their trips to São Paulo to promote the soap, the auditions attracted record numbers and the albums sold in huge quantity (the first album sold over 850,000 copies while the 2nd album was even more successful, selling over 1 million copies). Like in Argentina, the show spawned a huge quantity of licensed products and was the debut of some of Brazil's most popular young actors including Fernanda Souza, Carla Diaz, Kayky and Stephany Brito, Bruno Gagliasso, Debora Falabella, Marcus Pasquim, Bianca Renaldi, Paulo Nigro among others.
Among the differences between both version: boys were introduced on the first season instead of the second and became important characters in the second instead of the third. The new logo and graphics were used from the 2nd season (which aired in 98 in Brazil, the same year those graphics were introduced in the 4th season in Argentina). The first season was aired in 97, the second season in 98 while the third and fourth seasons were both shortened and aired in the same year, 99. While the 4th season in Argentina (aired in 1998) was the end of a cycle and the 5th season (1999) was the start of a new one, with brand new characters and setting, in Brazil all characters were maintained and only the setting changed, with Carolina and the young cast moving to a farm. Plus, the fifth season was the last one in Brazil and the sixth and seventh seasons were never made. The original sixth season was aired in SBT in 2007, seven years after the series had ended and three years since the reruns (which aired for only a few months because of legal problems) attracted huge ratings.
Chiquititas was the center of a bidding war among Mexico's number 1 net, Televisa, and TV Azteca. The latter ended up winning the rights to produce the show and, like the Brazilian version, sent the Mexican cast to Buenos Aires to shoot the first season. But while in Brazil the show became a huge hit, it flopped in Mexico, partially because Televisa was, by far, the marketing leader and dominated children television in the country.
In 2000, Chiquititas became a gigantic hit in Israel. A big line of merchandising was released, a musical with local actors was made with tickets selling out fast and several members of the cast (Nadia DiCello, Sebastian Francini, Camila Bordonaba, Felipe Colombo) visited the country to promote the show. The show was so huge in Israel, it motivated producer Yair Dori to approach Cris Morena to co-produce a show with her (which ended up being Rebelde Way).
Verano del '98
While Chiquititas was a massive hit among children and preteens, Telefe decided to create a show targeting teenagers.
Gustavo Yankelevich was responsible for the initial plot and asked Cris to develop the show about a group of teens living in a small city called Puerto Esperanza. Cherri, who starred as Mili in Chiquititas, was chosen as the main actress and Patricia Maldonado, the screenwriter of Chiquititas, was in charge of the scripts.
The show was intended to be aired exclusively during the summer (hence the title, translated as Summer of 98) but it was so successful it went on for three years (gaining the tagline Verano Eterno, Eternal Summer, later on). Cris (and her staff) wasn't in charge of the show during all this years, she was only responsible for the casting and the first half of season 1 (the four initial months). However, she, alongside Carlos Nilson, was the composer of the three albums the show spawned.
While it was a big hit in ratings, being the leader among youth audience in the country, it attracted lots of controversies. First, it was accused of plagiarizing the American TV show Dawson's Creek although Verano premiered on Telefe a few days before Dawson made his debut on The WB. Both shows had huge similarities and some storylines were identical in the first few months. The plagiarizing scandal was explained by Gustavo Yanklevich for La Nación newspaper. He confirmed Verano was hugely influenced by the American show and this happened because he saw a screening of the Dawson's Creek pilot months before the original airing, fell in love with it and because the show took so long to premier, he thought the drama wasn't picked up by the TV network. He thought the premise had much potential so he asked Cris and the production team to develop a teenage show with a similar story-line. Telefe and Sony (Dawson's Creek producer company) reached an amicable agreement when Sony was gave the right to distribute Verano around the world.
The show also caused controversy because of its huge focus on sex with taboo themes like masturbation and lots of sex scenes and sex talk involving the young teenagers. This issue was resolved by changing the time slot of the show: it was moved from its 7 p.m. slot (following kids soap Chiquititas) to 10 p.m., where it was still a big hit. It was the first teenage-oriented show to air in that time slot. For its third season, the show came back to its original time slot with no controversy (although sex was still one of the most important themes).
Verano spawned three multi-platinum albums and was the breakthrough of many respected and established actors including Florencia Bertotti, Nancy Duplaa, Marcela Kloosterboer, Nicolas Vasquez, Carla Peterson, Guido Kaczka, Juan Gil Navarro, Fernan Miras, Florencia Peña and Thomas and Dolores Fonzi. It's also one of the most iconic teenage shows in Argentina.
Plans for a Brazilian version of Verano were made but it never happened.
Cris Morena and Chiquititas production team only worked in Verano until the middle of the first season. Then, Cris decided to focus on Chiquititas only, so her ex-husband and Telefe's director, Gustava Yanklevich, became the producer. The show was a huge hit and was aired from 98 to 2000. Alongside Chiquititas and Jugate Conmigo, it is one of the most remembered youth-oriented shows from the 90s.
In an interview with Mario Pergolini (for his radio show Cual Es?), Cris revealed she did not like the direction Verano took after she left the production team. However, she owns the rights to the program, even though she only developed the initial argument and produced the first few months.
In 2009, Pedro Damián, which was responsible for the Mexican versions of Rebelde Way and Floricienta, announced his next project for Televisa was a version of Verano which would be titled Verano de Amor and would star Dulce Maria and a big cast of new faces. The show finally debuted in February on the 7 p.m. time slot being co-produced by Cris Morena Group and RGB.
With a very different format than a usual Mexican telenovela, Verano de Amor flopped and was canceled after 6 months.
After disagreements between Cris and Vilarruel, Telefe's chairman, she started developing a new show about a group of rich teenagers living in an elite boarding school.
Felipe Colombo, Camila Bordonaba, Luisana Lopilato and Benjamin Rojas, which were highly popular during Chiquititas' last three seasons, were chosen as the four leading teens of Rebelde Way (Rebelde means literally rebel but it also means stubborn, different, daring, revolted, problematic).
She had no plans to create Cris Morena Group, her own independent company. However, after parting ways with Telefe and with a huge staff following her, it was the only legal way to producer for a new channel. Until the late 90's, independent producing companies weren't common in Argentina and the shows were properties of the channel.
Although Cris Morena is an extremely successful businesswoman, she couldn't handle the business part by herself since she had no experience in the area (with Chiquititas, the legal aspects were handled by Telefe). Furthermore, her production company was mainly formed by creative staff and she needed another company to co-produce the project with her so they could finance it and handle the legal part. Initially, the show would be co-produced alongside RGB Entertainment, Cris ex-husband company with whom she has a very amicable relationship. However, the association didn't work since Cris was looking for someone who could dedicate themselves entirely to the project which was not the case with RGB, which had other hugely successful projects targeted at exactly the same audience going on such as reality show Popstars, girl group Bandana and Mambru.
After offers from Canal 13 and Canal 9, the show almost wasn't produced since the channels, still suffering from the Argentina's economic crisis, couldn't finance it and she needed an associate who could finance the project.
The production resumed when Argentine-Israeli producer Yair Dori decided to invest heavily on the project after the huge phenomenon Chiquititas became among children in Israel. The production began before the show had a confirmed channel to be aired on.
It was finally decided the show would premier on Canal 9, which had huge success with teen-oriented show Popstars the year before, and it would be aired every weekday at 8 p.m. Soon after its debut, the show became the channel's highest-rated show and became a huge phenomenon. It spawned a band, Erreway, formed by the four protagonists, several licensed products (such as stationary items, a clothing line, a monthly magazine, cosmetics and sunglasses) and a triple platinum album.
The show was Cris's first show on prime-time and it was a huge hit for Canal 9, being the most-watched show in the channel by a huge margin.
After the huge reception of the show first season, Cris decided to produce a second and the group started touring Argentina and selling out arenas around the country and in other South American countries like Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.
While Chiquititas usually was criticized for being too sexualized, Rebelde Way was even more shocking: on the first episode, Mia (Luisana Lopilato) did a sexy strip-tease while Marizza (Camila Bordonaba) decided to do a photoshoot topless (with her body painted).
In 2003, Argentina still hadn't recovered from the crisis and Canal 9 was having some big financial troubles and couldn't finance the show anymore. Because of this, the show changed from Canal 9 to America 2 in the middle of the second season alongside another CMG production, Rincón de Luz. The transition meant the show sets had to be rebuilt in a new studio and that the show would be off-air for one month. It was the first time in Argentine television history a show changed channel in the middle of the season.
Although Rebelde Way and Erreway were extremely popular, they were initially outshone by girl group Bandana and boy band Mambru, winners of the first and second season of reality show Popstars. Both bands were managed by Cris's ex-husband and his company, RGB Entertainment. For the first time in 7 years, Cris didn't had the opportunity to use Teatro Gran Rex during winter vacations since the venue was occupied by Bandana (the girl group attracted over 150.000 people to their concerts in July). It was also the first time Cris did not occupy the first spot in the list of highest-grossing live event: instead, she occupied the third spot, with Bandana occupying the first place and Mambrú occupying the second. The same thing happened in the year-end best-selling album ranking: Bandana and their second album were the highest-selling followed by Mambru's first CD and, in third place, Erreway's Señales. However, there were ties among Cris and the two pop groups: they were both managed by Gustavo Yankelevich, Cris' ex-husband and RGB Entertainment. In fact, one year earlier Cris herself directed Bandana's first live tour. Gustavo helped to organize Erreway's first live show which would happen for free at Abasto shopping mall, repeating the successful Bandana's Abasto live debut in 2001. Besides, Mambrú and Bandana songs were owned by Mardi Grass Publishing, which is the music publishing company owned by Cris and Gustavo in association. Rebelde Way's first season finale also featured a highly promoted cameo by Bandana.
Following the tradition, critics weren't exactly supportive of the program. Clarin, Argentina's most respected and read newspaper, was extremely negative. It criticized the four main actors because "they look and act like they're 12 years old. They're not in Chiquititas anymore. They have biceps, new hair, rebel pheromones. And yet they still act like they're in elementary school". In another review, it noted "the show sometimes look like soft porn and sometimes like a parody due to its absurd setting and the painful over-acting" although it admitted the show was undoubtedly successful "four months after its debut, the show already spawned a double platinum album, a surprisingly dirty music video that airs nonstop on music cable channels, a monthly magazine, cosmetics, a sunglasses and clothing line, stationery items and very good sales for the international market". In a review of the live concert at Teatro Gran Rex, Clarin described the cast wardrobe as "mini-skirts, leather, knee-high socks, rhinestones. What Cris Morena would love to be able to wear".
La Nación, another influential newspaper, was less critical and even gave the show a positive nod. They rated the show as "Good" and, although it criticized the characters for being excessively stereotyped, it concludes the stereotypes are made acceptable because the telenovela distances itself from any realistic tone. It also commented that "you could find everything in the show. From very good young actors, such as Camila Bordonaba to terrible ones, such as Coco Maggio. There are some extremely well-done sequences while others look cheap". It concluded that the biggest attractions for teenagers were the glamorous setting and the fun music and that "the most interesting thing is the verbal duels among the young cast. They're though, they're shocking, they're mean, they're fun, and they're a perfect representations of what teenagers are like".
In 2002, Cris Morena was interviewed by the TV show Horizontal/Vertical to promote Rebelde Way. Carlos Polimenni, a journalist and panelist on the program, attacked her arguing her TV shows were crap and "too commercial". Cris Morena lost her composure for a few minutes and replied: "You're such an idiot. You pretend to be a serious journalist while being a panelist in a gossip show. It doesn't make sense".
In 2003, Cris fired back at critics saying: "Critics are increasingly distant of the opinion of the general public. They are so out of touch with reality they remind me of politics. And politics aren't exactly doing well at their jobs right now, are they?". She continued: "Some people say my programs are too commercial. What's wrong with that? The ideal recipe in television is to do a show that's well done and successful. It doesn't makes any sense to do a show or a musical or an art exhibition for a minimal audience. What I want to do is to get to biggest number of people I can in the best way possible".
While Rebelde Way and the spawned band Erreway were hugely popular in Argentina, they were even bigger in Israel, where the show benefited from the hype surrounding Chiquititas. Rebelde Way soon became the most-watched show among kids and teenagers in the country, the group was contracted by several companies, from McDonald's to Swatch, to promote their products and their concerts in Tel Aviv were attended by over 100,000 people. Hysteria was so big that they were headlines of the country's biggest and most important newspaper on the day of their arrival in the country. A phenomenon so big was never before seen in Israel and even though several kids and teenage-oriented shows of the same vein were aired later in the country, most of them coming from Argentina, never a show came close to the mass hysteria Rebelde Way caused among Israeli youth. Argentina is still instantaneously connected with this show by Israeli natives. Yair Dori was completely satisfied with Rebelde Way and wanted to do a third season but Cris wanted to move on to new projects, even though the Israeli businessman offered lots of money for the continuation of the project. They tried to continue the show without CMG but it wasn't possible since the four leads and the rest of the cast had contracts signed with Cris Morena Group. She started working on her new project, Floricienta, and Yair Dori was also a co-producer but RGB Entertainment, Cris' ex-husband company, would be responsible for most of the financial part and sales to Latin America and a big part of Europe which made Dori's role much smaller than in Rebelde Way (he was responsible only for the sales and merchandising of the show in East Europe).
Three years after the end of the band and four years after the TV show, Rebelde Way started airing in Spain and soon became a huge success. With the defunct band appearing in several magazine covers and moving thousands of merchandising and albums, they finally decided to reunite for a huge Spanish arena tour. The tour caused mass polemic when it was announced Luisana wouldn't be touring with them and had left the band. This announcement was made when tickets were already on sales and her image and name appeared on the promotional material.
Even with the Luisana controversy, the tour was highly successful, with all shows selling out, and the three remaining members reunited to do a new album especially for the Spanish market where a new tour was also planned. While the album, titled Vuelvo, was recorded, legal problems with Pol-ka, which produced Son de Fierro (with Felipe and Camila on the cast), made the new studio album and the tour to be canceled.
The new material recorded by the band will be used in Atr@pados, a soap made for cellphones and the Internet which will star Benjamin Rojas and Felipe Colombo, the male half of Erreway. Atrap@dos is being helmed by Cris Morena alongside her son, Thomas Yanklevich and it will be released sometime in 2009.
A number of shows with the same format and with a big chunk of the original secondary cast were aired in Argentina's television, many of them co-produced by Yair Dori, who was still trying to recreate Rebelde Way's momentum (especially in the Israeli market). Those shows included El Refugio de los Sueños (aired in Canal 13 against Chiquititas in 2006), Frecuencia '04 (aired on Telefe in 2004 against Floricienta), Paraiso Rock (aired in Canal 9 in 2005) and Romeo y Julieta (aired in Canal 9 in 2007). Those were all flops in Argentina and Israel and were canceled. Cris had no relation whatsoever to those productions.
While a huge part of Rebelde Way cast is still doing Rebelde Way copycat shows, the four main leads went on to have successful careers.
Felipe Colombo acted in Pol-ka productions, with roles on shows such as Mujeres Asesinas 2 (2006), Son de Fierro (2007), Por Amor a Vos (2008), Ensañame a Vivir (2009), Herederos de una venganza (2011). He also starred in critically acclaimed theatrical productions such as El Graduado (The Graduate) and more. He had a daughter in 2009 with his girlfriend of four years Cecília.
Camila Bordonaba starred in soap Floricienta (2004), El Patrón de la Vereda (2005), Gladiadores de Pompeya (2006) and had roles in Son de Fierro (2007) (where she played Colombo's girlfriend), and Atracción x 4 (2008-2009).
Luisana Lopilato starred in Casados con Hijos, the hugely successful Argentine remake of Married... with Children (2005-2006), El Capo (2007) and worked with Cris again in Alma Pirata (2006). She did several theatrical productions and is the face of different companies, including leading teen fashion retail 47 Street (which she advertises since her Rebelde Way days). She dated popular actor Mariano Martínez and Juan Mónaco and is currently on a relationship with Michael Bublé.
Benjamín Rojas has worked exclusively with Cris since 1998: from 98 to 2001 he starred in Chiquititas, from 2002 to 2003 he starred in Rebelde Way, in 2004 and 2005 he had an important role in Floricienta, in 2006 he was one of the leads in Alma Pirata. After working nonstop since 98, Benjamin decided to take a break in 2007 and went back to work in 2008: he shot a movie where he will play the main character (his first non-Cris related project) and will work with Cris again in two projects: the cellphone show Atrap@dos and her Disney Channel project, Jake & Blake. Benjamin was dating model Maria del Cero since 2005. But they broke up in 2008. Maria is part of the teenage cast of Casi Ángeles.
Luisana Lopilato and Camila Bordonaba were reunited in 2008 in teen-oriented soap Atracción x 4, an Ideas de Sur production for Canal 13. The girls play sisters on the show. Initially, Atracción x 4 had good ratings but it dropped drastically when Telefe changed Cris Morena Group's Casi Ángeles's time slot, which made the two shows compete directly (Casi Ángeles was originally aired at 6 p.m. and Atracción x 4 at 7 p.m.). Casi Ángeles easily won the ratings battle and Atracción x 4 was very affected. Even after the end of Casi Ángeles, the Canal 13 show didn't had an increase in ratings and the reruns of Cris show Floricienta, which was aired right before Ax4, had bigger audience numbers. Slowly and after a huge makeover, Atracción x 4 started to attract a decent audience but its numbers are a far cry from any of Cris productions, with merchandising spawned from the show failing to sell. Atracción x 4 ended in March after only 5 months on air.
Rebelde Way foreign versions
In 2004, Mexico's Televisa debuted their own version of the show, Rebelde. The soap was, once again, a huge phenomenon among Latin-American crowd and the group that spawned from the show, RBD sold out Latin America's biggest stadiums and were the first group to receive a Diamond Record for sales in Mexico since OV7 in 2000. They achieved record sales in Colombia (were they outsold Shakira and Juanes), Brazil, Spain and Chile and in almost every Latin-American country.
In Brazil, where Hispanic pop is unpopular, RBD sold over 2.5 million records. Their first concert in the country, which was free, was marked by tragedy when a much bigger crowd than expected turned out and a stampede killed two young fans. Later, they were the first Spanish language acts to do a concert at the world's biggest stadium, Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro.
Ironically, one of the few markets in which Rebelde didn't perform well was Argentina, where it only debuted in 2008, two years after their peak (because of contractual obligations with Cris Morena Group and Dori Media). They still managed to achieve a golden record for sales with their last album, Empezar desde el Cero according to CAPIF and their first concert in Buenos Aires (part of their goodbye tour) sold-out really fast. Cris herself attended the concert and the members of the band thanked her for everything.
In the end of August, a Portuguese adaptation of the show premiered on SIC. It soon topped Morangos com Açucar rating, the leading teen show in the country since 2004.
Brazil's TV station Record also bought the rights to adapt the show. Rebelde was a phenomenal success in Brazil and the spin-off band, RBD, is still very popular in the country. Chilean's net Mega is also producing its own version, Corazones Rebeldes, which is slated for later in 2009. Chile was another huge market for the Mexican band and soap.
In 2009, it was revealed Fox and Jennifer Lopez production company would remake the show for American television. In an interview for Radio 10, Cris revealed the negotiation between her and the American companies lasted three years because they wouldn't accept her terms but, in the end, they finally accepted. The American version is in pre-production.
In September 2009, aired a Chilean-version of Rebelde Way titled Corazon Rebelde. The original version of the show aired in the country and the Mexican adaptation was a huge phenomenon among local youth.
When many doubted Cris Morena could exceed her previous hits, she surprised again with Floricienta. The title, Floricienta, is a mix of Flor (the main character, Florencia, nickname) with Cenicienta (Cinderella).
There are a few similarities between the show and another Cinderella modern re-telling, the movie A Cinderella Story such as the Converse sneakers instead of the glass slipper. However, the movie and the show were in production at the same time (Floricienta premiered on Canal 13 in May 2004 while the movie debuted in the USA in July).
After being panned by critics since 1991 with Jugate, Cris Morena finally received praise. Clarin, in their first positive review of one of her productions, rated the show as "very good" and noted that "What Cris Morena declared is true: Floricienta is not much better than all the other children and teen-oriented sagas that were previously on (Chiquititas, Verano del '98, Rebelde Way, Rincón de Luz). However, being only a tiny bit better, it conquered not only the public but also the very mischievous public opinion (and while both may look the same, they're definitely not)". The critic praised the actors, especially Florencia Bertotti, the editing, the story, the scripts and the rhythm.
Floricienta was critically acclaimed for its fun storyline and scripts, creative editing and post-production and the charisma of the main actress, Florencia Bertotti, and became the biggest licensing brand in Argentina in 2004 and 2005. Over 300 licensed products were available during the shows two-years run and even Floricienta branded apples were put on market. Other important newspapers, such as La Nación, also rated the show as "very good" praising the production, the cast and Florencia Bertotti's charisma and comedy timing
Floricienta started with 14 points in its first episode and by the first season finale the show achieved ratings of over 30 points with the death of Federico at the end of the first season, being the biggest Cris Morena produced hit in history, even topping Chiquititas 98 ratings. The first season was the highest-rated afternoon-slot show in Canal 13 history.
Although the ending of the first season, with the death of the prince Federico, was highly criticized, the second season continued to be hugely popular. The TV show ended with Floricienta marriage in front of a big live audience and the finale was also a hit, with 25 points.
Floricienta, as most Cris Morena productions, had a huge Broadway style live musical in Teatro Gran Rex during the Winter vacations. Demand for tickets were extremely high with some concerts selling out in less than five minutes. In 2004, to satisfy the demand, the cast played two concerts at Estádio Velez Sarsifield with over 40.000 tickets sold for each of the two performances.
In 2005, a new musical debuted on Gran Rex and it was also a huge success with tickets selling out in minutes and total of 170,000 tickets sold. Because of this, eight extra shows were played in Luna Park stadium in Buenos Aires with 80,000 tickets sold. After the show ended, the complete cast (with the exception of Fabio DiTomassio who pulled out after disagreements with the production company) waved goodbye in front of 40.000 people at another sold out concert at Vélez Sársfield stadium. The musical was also presented in Rosario, La Plata and Mar del Plata at sold-out stadiums.
The two Floricienta albums were also very successful, with the first album being the third best-selling album in 2004 and the 10th best-selling album in 2005 (and, after achieving four times platinum, becoming the best-selling Cris' album since Chiquititas 1999) and with the album from the second season being the biggest seller in 2005 according to CAPIF.
Floricienta was also a huge phenomenon in most of Latin America where it was aired by broadcast television and also at the Disney Channel, where it was as popular as the American shows such as Hannah Montana and That's So Raven. While Rebelde was, without a doubt, Cris' biggest hit in Latin America, Floricienta was the first original CMG production that achieved phenomenal success on the continent (since Rebelde was a remake by Televisa co-produced with CMG). The cast sold out huge stadiums all over Latin America, including Mexico, where no Argentine TV show had ever achieved such a huge success (even though the show had only aired on cable). The show cast also sold out concerts in Tel-Aviv, Israel although the success didn't reach Rebelde Way-level of hysteria in the country. Over 1 million people attended Floricienta tour in Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay among many other territories.
Floricienta, alongside Rebelde, was the biggest youth-oriented show in Latin America in 2004–2005 being aired in every single country and selling out stadiums in Central America, South America and North America.
In 2004, a Brazilian version was produced, named Floribella. It doubled the ratings of Bandeirante at its time slot, over 40 products were released and the two CDs achieved platinum certifications. In 2005, a Portuguese version was also aired at SIC [disambiguation needed ] and was a massive hit. The first CD released is the best-selling CD ever in Portugal and over 150 products were released at the country. Because of the massive success of the show, SIC bought the rights to other three Cris Morena shows: Alma Pirata, Rebelde Way (currently on air) and Chiquititas (aired in 2007).
A version from Chile (also called Floribella) was also produced with great acceptance and the Mexican version (Lola...Érase una vez) also did well. There was also a Colombian version and the rights were bought for Greece, Russia, among other countries.
In an interview with Radio 10 in February 2009, Cris revealed Disney had bought the rights for an American remake.
In 2001, Cris left Telefe after a disagreement with chairman Claudio Vilarruel. Because the brand Chiquititas was propriety of the channel, she could not produce the program she created and directed in any other station.
Since she couldn't produce Chiquititas, she decided to create a spin-off Rincón de Luz which would be aired in Canal 9 in conjunction with the second season of Rebelde Way.
Guido Kaczka, which played Belen's brother from 95 to 98 in Chiquititas' and Argentina's best-selling singer, Soledad Pastorutti were chosen as the leads. Many of the young actors from previous Chiquititas season, such as Agustin Sierra, Natalia Melecom and Nadia DiCielo, also returned.
The show debuted in April 2003. Although it rated better than Canal 9's average, it couldn't top the success of the previous Chiquititas seasons and ratings were also lower than Rebelde Way. In the middle of the year, due to a crisis in Canal 9, the show changed to America 2 alongside Rebelde Way and the one-month hiatus and frequent time slot changes in the new channel affected the show greatly.
However, commercially the show was still a success. The CD received gold certification and sold well (although distant from other Chiquititas CD which had all received multiple platinum certifications). In Israel, the show benefited from the hype surrounding Rebelde Way, which was a never before seen phenomenon in the country, and the original Chiquititas, which had exploded there a few years earlier, and became a huge sensation. The complete cast of the program visited Tel Aviv for a series of concerts, with over 50,000 tickets sold. The show is currently aired for the entire Latin America at cable channel Boomerang. In 2005, Cris started to patch things up with Telefe when the sitcom Amor Mío, produced by her, was picked-up by the channel and aired on primetime with great success. Finally, after two years in Canal 13, one and a half years in Canal 9 and half year in America Television, Cris finally returned to Telefe in an exclusivity deal in 2006.
For the comeback, Cris decided to produce a new season of Chiquititas with Jorgelina Aruzzi playing Lili, the main character. Jorgelina was revealed at Amor Mío. Her romantic interest was Kili, played by Gaston Ricaud (which also had a role in Amor Mío and starred in Chiquititas' 7th season alongside Agustina Cherri). The children cast was formed by new faces fresh out of a casting and Mariana Esposito (which had starring roles in Rincón de Luz and Floricienta), Stefano DiGregório (who had starring roles in Rincón de Luz and Floricienta) and Candela Vetrano (who had a starring role in Rincón de Luz).
However, even though the album achieved double platinum, spawned over 100 licensed product and was the ratings leader on its time slot, beating Canal 13 rival show El Refugio (de los Sueños) (which was eventually canceled), it didn't came close to the phenomenal level of popularity of the previous seasons, Floricienta or even Rebelde Way.
The licensed products didn't sell as much and while Floricienta second album was the best-selling album of 2006, Chiquitita's album was only the 6th. The high-budget Gran Rex musical didn't sold out as fast and was only the #2 live event of the year, losing the #1 spot for Disney On Ice Princesses. While Floricienta attracted over 160.000 people to Gran Rex and also sold over 300.000 tickets with concerts at Luna Park and Estádio Velez, Chiquititas attracted 75,000 which was still a success but not on pair with previous shows. It was the first Cris Morena musical to not attract over 100,000 people since Chiquititas first musical in 1996.
Following the tradition of previous seasons, the new Chiquititas was panned by critics. Clarín commented the acting was solid but the story-line was weak and La Nación, which gave good reviews for Rebelde Way, Floricienta and even some of Chiquititas original seasons, only gave the show a "regular" rating and criticized the weak scripts and dialogs.
Even though the show didn't surpass Floricienta, it was still profitable enough for a second season to be produced. It was, after all, Telefe best-selling exportation product of 2006, the musical was the 2nd highest-grossing live event in the country, over 100 licensed products were released and the CD achieved double platinum.
The show would get an extreme makeover. Emilia Attias (in her acting debut) and Nicolas Vasquez (which had worked in Verano del '98 and starred in Alma Pirata) would star and the cast would also have Alejo Garcia Pinto and Julia Calvo. Finally, the plan for a second season was scrapped and, with this cast, Cris decided to produce an all new show which ended up being Casi Ángeles.
The 2007 season of the cast revealed actors like Pedro Lanzani, Guadalupe Anton, Eva Quatrocci and Gastón Soffritti.
After 20 years working together, the Chiquititas: 24 Horas CD, soundtrack for the 2006 season, was Cris last collaboration with Carlos "Rocky" Nilson. They produced all Jugate Conmigo, Chiquititas and Floricienta albums and the majority of the Erreway songs. They also had written together for over 30 artists. All songs in the 24 Horas CDs, with the exception of 'Donde Estás?', were famous songs from Chiquititas original seasons with new arrangements. The show opening theme was a new version of the original Jugate Conmigo theme. Carlos went on to work at Ideas de Sur, doing the soundtrack for Patito Feo and Atracción x 4.
Rights for the format were offered to Brazilian channel SBT who declined because they already had Rebelde according to O Globo's columnist Patricia Kogut. Bandeirantes, the channel that aired Floribella, bought the rights but the version was never produced. Finally, in 2008, the original Argentine version was aired by SBT.
In 2008, SIC [disambiguation needed ] premiered the Portuguese version following Floribella's huge success. After struggling on prime-time, the show changed time slot and the audience increased drastically. Lots of licensed products were released and the CD also did well in sales. A video game for the Wii console was also released. Romania also bought the rights and produced a local version of the show.
Brazilian-net SBT perceived there was still appetite for Chiquititas franchise after the huge ratings the reruns of the original soap achieved in 2004 and bought the rights for the 6th season, being the first Argentina's soap aired (in its original format, not remake) in the country since Manchete's aired Mas Alla del Horizonte in 1995. In 2007, the 6th season started airing and it increased rating at its time slot. Stamp albums, dolls, a CD and other products were released. In 2008, Chiquititas '06 also aired.
In 2005, besides the second season of Floricienta, Morena finally started producing Amor Mío, a sitcom she started developing with her daughter, Romina Yan in 2002. The show was aired by Telefe in prime time and it was a huge hit, which helped Cris and the channel to finally patch things up. Both parts finally reached an agreement and since 2006 all her projects were aired on the channel. It was the first Cris Morena show not target to kids and teenagers.
Amor Mío ended prematurely when ratings were still very high because of Romina Yan's pregnancy. It also starred Damian Santos.
Amor Mío was adapted for Mexico's Televisa and for Russia. The Mexican version was shot in Argentina (similar to Chiquititas Brasil in the late 90s) and was a huge hit in the country. The Mexican version had many more episodes than the Argentine version and the scripts who weren't shot because of the show's premature ending were finally used. Even after those scripts ran out, Televisa renewed the show and brand new episodes were written by the Argentine staff especially for Mexico.
After Rebelde, Amor Mío and Lola Erase Una Vez, Televisa signed an exclusivity contract with CMG and RGB. Under the contract, the Mexican-net would help finance CMG productions, would help promote the shows overseas, would handle international sales and had exclusive remake and airing rights in Mexico. However, Televisa cannot interfere on the creative process.
In 2006, besides Chiquititas, Morena was also made responsible for the prime-time show on Telefe. She decided to produce Alma Pirata, which was a style of production never before done in Argentina.
For the show, she reunited Argentina's hottest young actors (three of them discovered by her): Luisana Lopilato, Mariano Martínez (who real life romance was causing huge media attention at the time), Benjamin Rojas, Isabel Macedo and Elsa Pinilla among others.
It had the difficult mission of beating Canal 13's big hit Sos Mi Vida on the 8 p.m. time slot. It couldn't do it and after a few months of struggling ratings, it was moved to 7 p.m. Because of that, Mariano Martínez decided to leave the show since his contract was exclusively for a prime time show. He was killed off and Nicolas Vasquez replaced him as Luisana's character love interest. On the 7 p.m. time slot the show finally took off and its finale attracted a huge 22 points, very impressive for the time the show was aired.
In the beginning of 2007 she finally started producing her new project Bella y Bestia son.. (They Are the Beauty and the Beast) which was later renamed to Bella y Bestia and finally simply B&B. The show would star Romina Yan and Damian DiSanto, which had been praised by their acting in Amor Mío two years earlier. Pre-production began by the end of 2006 and the actual production began in September 2007. The show finally premiered on Telefe's schedule in January 2008. The show had a hard time and the ratings were low for its time slot but it wasn't canceled because the whole Telefe's prime time schedule was struggling and low, especially compared to Canal 13's rating and ByB was one of the most watched shows of the channel, even if it couldn't reach the initial expectations. B&B: Bella y Bestia ended in June 2008.
B&B rights were sold to Spanish-net Antena 3 that started to develop the show to be a daily sitcom to be aired on access primetime. It would be produced by Imagina, a company that is half-owned by Televisa and half-owned by Globomedia, Spain's biggest independent company. However, the project was canceled.
In March 2007, Cris' new kids and teen oriented show, Casi Ángeles, starring Emilia Attias and Nicolas Vasquez, finally premiered on Telefe after a big marketing campaign. Mariana Esposito, Juan Pedro Lanzani, Maria Eugenia Suarez, Nicolas Riera and Gaston Dalmau also starred and together they were the Teen Angels, the band that spawned from the show.
Initially, Cris planned to do a second season of Chiquititas with a whole new cast but at the last minute, she decided to rename and restructure the whole project. Cris revealed the title of the show for the first time in November 2006 to Produ.com.
Nicola Vasquez, who successfully replaced Mariano Martínez in Alma Pirata, and Emilia Attias, a popular model without no previous acting experiences, were chosen as the leads. Maria Eugenia Suarez (who worked with Cris in Rincón de Luz and Amor Mío), Mariana Esposito (who worked with Cris in Rincón de Luz, Floricienta and Chiquititas), Peter Lanzani (who worked with Cris in Chiquititas), Gaston Dalmau and Nicolas Riera would be the Teen Angels, the band that spawned from the show. The main cast was completed by Guadalupe Anton (worked with Cris in Chiquititas), Stefano de Gregorio (worked with Cris in Rincón de Luz, Floricienta and Chiquititas), Thomas Ross, Florencia Cagnasso and Nazareno Anton and with Gimena Accardi, Alejo García Pintos and Julia Calvo as the antagonists.
The show premiered, after a huge marketing campaign, on the 6 p.m. slot in April 2007. Despite good reviews by the specialized press, it was heavily criticized by Cris Morena fans. In boards like Los Ángeles de Cris and Telenovelas.com.ar fans praised the impressive production but complained the show lacked originality, with Cielo (played by Emilia Attias) resembling Floricienta and with lots of plots being reused and resembling those from the 8 previous Chiquititas seasons, Alma Pirata, Rebelde Way and mostly Floricienta, with scenes that were exactly the same as the previous Cris show.
After good ratings in the first few weeks, the telenovela ratings started to decrease. As Patito Feo, the highly promoted soap targeted at the same public from rival channel Canal 13, debut date coming closer and ratings dropping, fans and Telefe started to worry.
Patito Feo was a huge success and caused big hysteria among the younger crowd easily beating Casi Ángeles not only in ratings, but also in merchandising sales. Ever since Chiquititas, no youth-oriented show had beaten a Cris Morena production in repercussion or sales and viewers numbers, so it was a huge shock the fact Patito Feo did it so easily.
Ratings from Casi Ángeles dropped drastically and the show was being beaten so heavily by Patito Feo that Telefe had to change the show to another time slot. This, alongside a few changes in the storyline to make it more teens-oriented and to resemble less other Cris productions, made the show start to gain viewers and it was finally ready to come back to its original time slot where it tied with Patito Feo for most of the year and won the fight in its final weeks.
Casi Ángeles season finale had 16 points according to Ibope, the company responsible for measuring ratings in Latin-America. Patito Feo had 14 points. Casi Ángeles first season average was 12 points only 0,6 less than Patito Feo (12,6 average).
In Teatro Gran Rex, Cris Morena wowed the audience again with another high-budget Broadway-style musical featuring the complete cast of the show. The musical stayed on Teatro Gran Rex from the end of June to the middle of August and was a huge success, attracting over 150,000 people.
Both shows, Casi Ángeles and Patito Feo, were renewed for a second season. Cris stated that she planned to fix the mistakes she did in the first season with an impressive and creative second season. In the season finale, the Teen Angels gave viewers the first glimpse of the soundtrack of the second season, debuting the song Estoy Listo. A trailer was shown during a Casi Ángeles concert in Punta del Este, Uruguay, during the summer, where the cast also sang for the first time the song Un Paso, which was also part of the second season soundtrack.
Casi Ángeles debuted in April with over 30 chapters already shot. A week before the debut, a free live presentation was done at Luna Park for 8,000 fans, where the new cast was presented, a big trailer was shown and most songs from the 2nd album were sung for the first time.
One of the problems of the first season, was that it wasn't clear who the show was targeting with some elements gearing to young children, other to tweens and others to teenagers. This caused a confusion and presumably affected the program since, at the end, it didn't cater completely to any of this groups. In the second season this was fixed with the show being completely teen oriented, with a huge focus on the teenage cast and their problems. Furthermore, the show was implemented with lots of mystery and action sequences, in the same vein as US shows like Lost. Also, each episode had a title and ended with a monologue, recourses that are popular in weekly series but never in daily shows and which were very well received by the audience. Pop culture references also became a huge part of the show. The changes had a good effect: the 2nd season debuted with big 16 points, a series high (beating the first season finale) and the entire season had an average of 14 points of rating, 2 points higher than last season.
Besides, the show was the leader in its time slot during the entire year, easily beating the second season of Patito Feo. The breakout hit of 2007 which overshadowed Casi Ángeles couldn't hold its audience during its second year, which was heavily criticized for a huge decrease in quality. Many times, Casi Ángeles more than doubled Patito Feo numbers. In October, Adrian Suar, Canal 13's chairman, decided to end Patito Feo two months before originally planned.
From June to September, Casi Ángeles came back to Teatro Gran Rex for another impressive high-budget musical. The live concert broke all records and surpassed every single Cris Morena production to become the 2nd biggest Teatro Gran Rex ticket seller ever (the biggest ticket-seller is still Chiquititas 98), surpassing the first season production attendance by more than 100.000. In October, the Teen Angels alongside the rest of the teen cast started a national tour and in December, to attend the huge demand, six additional final concerts were presented in Gran Rex.
In May 2008, Cris Morena Group and RGB also opened a huge store (Fans Store) at Unicenter. The store mostly sell Casi Ángeles merchandising and also has signings, dance and acting classes, among other events.
In September, rumors started to float that Nicolas Vasquez, the show male lead, would leave the show after an argument with the production company. Despite the fans campaigning against this story twist, he disappeared as Cielo did at the end of the first season, but with the difference that this time it wasn't clear if he was ever coming back. While many fans menaced to boycott the show, ratings were not affected by this and the show head scriptwriter, Leandro Calderón, stated at Telenovelas.com.ar boards that Nico's disappearance was planned from the beginning and it had nothing to do with rumored internal fights. It was also confirmed Nicolas Vasquez would be back for the season's final episodes and that Casi Ángeles would be back for a third season. In the chapter 151, Nico came back and he stayed on the show until the season finale. Although it was heavily rumored he would be killed, his character had a happy ending with Cielo.
In November Atracción x 4, Ideas de Sur new teen-oriented show, debuted on the 7 p.m. slot. Although it was originally planned for the 6 p.m. slot, it was decided the show would debut one hour later instead, in a more 'visible' time slot and to avoid a direct confront with Casi Ángeles final weeks and a similar faith as Patito Feo second season. Atracción x 4 had a cast full of popular actors and actresses including Rebelde Way's Luisana Lopilato and Camila Bordonaba, which were being reunited after five years.
Atracción x 4 had good numbers during its first week but Telefe decision to move Casi Ángeles from the 6 P.M slot to 7 p.m., where it would compete directly with Atracción, severely damaged Canal 13's show rating, which dropped 50% compared to its first week.
Casi Ángeles continued to be one of Telefe's most popular show and since it was responsible for Telefe's supremacy in the afternoon slot, the channel decided to stretch the show by cutting its episode in half during its last week, so it would last one more week. The 30-minute episodes (45 minutes with the Team Angels segment) started airing on Monday, November 17 and all the original 1 hour episodes were aired as two-part chapters. The last 6 episodes were aired in 12 segments of 30 minutes each while the season finale was aired in its original 60 minute format.
Under large speculation Nicolas Vasquez character would die as would Thiago (Juan Pedro Lanzani), the second season reached its finale on December 1. Neither of the two died (instead, Salvador and Franka were the two casualties). The finale reached 19 points in ratings and was a new series high.
The second season involved a book with 7 locks. To open those locks, seven 'guardians' had to find their respective keys during drastic moments in their life. Rama, Tacho, Mar, Jazmin and Thiago were the firsts to find their keys. Later on, Lleca was discovered as the 6th key. In the finale, Salvador, which had his body occupied by the villain Juan Cruz, killed himself to save the life of the others and the 7th key was found in him. However, the 7th guardian wasn't him but all the teenage cast and Justina (Julia Calvo), which were the ones he died to protect.
The second season ended with all of them finally unlocking the book and disappearing. After the scene, a very intriguing preview of the third season was aired. The preview, with lots of unimaginable situations and couples, caused huge shock.
After the finale, on December 1, the show started a four months hiatus. After the last episode was aired, the cast did 6 final sold-out presentations in Teatro Gran Rex.
After a three week vacation, the cast resumed their tour with two sold out concerts in popular summer destination Mar del Plata. The Teen Angels were also chosen as the spokepeople for Coca Cola in Argentina, singing Coke's 2009 summer anthem Hoy Quiero and opening a Coca Cola stand in litoral city Pinamar in front of 5.000 fans.
In the start of March, the first preview of the third season started airing in Yups TV, CMG new on-line television channel which debuted on March 12.
Also in March 2009, after a huge marketing campaign, Casi Ángeles debuted in Disney Channel in Central America, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Panama. The show is aired since 2007 in sister-channel Jetix in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay. Floricienta and Patito Feo, extremely familiar shows that almost didn't deal with taboo themes, were severally edited for objective content during their showing in Disney Channel and Casi Ángeles was edited even more in the Jetix version since it deals with themes like sexuality, inappropriate language and scenes of violence. In the end of March, the five Teen Angels, alongside Cris Morena herself, visited Mexico City for a showcase in El Lunario del Auditorio Nacional and radio, television and press interview to promote the show and the release of the special CD+DVD for the Mexican market.
The third season started airing under huge expectations on March 20 at 7 p.m. in Telefe. It is the most-watched non primetime show in the country and beat all the competition, including new Canal 13 youth-oriented soap Enseñame a Vivir.
In Israel, the first season of the show aired with lukewarm ratings in the local Nickelodeon. As it happened before in Argentina and Uruguay, the show finally exploded in popularity when the second season started airing. Following the footsteps of Chiquititas and Rebelde Way in the early 2000s, Casi Ángeles became a huge phenomenon among tweens and teens.
In May, Mariana Esposito and Peter Lanzani visited Tel Aviv for a four day promotional visit. They caused chaos at the airport and at the hotel, taped a television special, gave interviews and shot commercials for a popular hair product brand.
In September, Eugenia Suarez and Pablo Martínez also visited the country for extra promotion. They also gave interviews, had a signing session and played a showcase for over 20,000 fans at Kiryat Motzkin.
The third season is breaking audience's records, outnumbering the first two seasons (although the repercussion is not as big as season 2). The third album is also double platinum and is, to this point, the highest-selling album of the year. Furthermore, Clarín, the newspaper that a few years earlier destroyed Chiquititas, Rebelde Way and Jugate Conmigo, gave the third season of the show an extremely positive critic, praising the show to be outbreaking, thought-provoking and a breath of fresh air among teen shows. Mario Pergolini, which in the early 90s was extremely negative over Cris Morena and Jugate, also praised the show and Cris herself, declaring he was too judgmental when he was young and now he can see Cris is not only very talented but also a visionary. He even invited her for a chat in his radio show, Cual Es?.
A fourth season is currently in pre-production and there are rumors for a feature film. If season four happens, it'll be the first Cris Morena show since Chiquititas in 1998 to surpass four seasons. Jugate Conmigo, Chiquititas and Casi Ángeles were the only Cris Morena productions to exceed two seasons with Chiquititas being the longest, with seven seasons and two spin-offs (or, overall, nine seasons). Jugate had four seasons and one spin-off (Jugate con Todo).
Casi Ángeles third season is the highest-rated non-primetime show in Argentine television.
In September, the cast will visit Madrid to promote the debut of the second season in Spain. In October, they'll do a series of concerts in Mexico.
Her only show currently on air in Argentina is the fourth season of Casi Ángeles. It is her first project since Chiquititas to reach three seasons. Chiquititas third season was aired in 1997. Verano del '98 also had three seasons but she only produced the first 20 episodes of the first season.
Cris Morena and RGB also announced in a press conference their partnership with TV conglomerate and biggest Spanish-language TV channel Televisa. Televisa would help finance and distribute Cris' shows around the world but would have no creative input on the show's content (the creativity part is Cris Morena and her production company responsibility while the financial and business part is managed by RGB). Alongside Televisa and Pedro Damián, Cris Morena and RGB are supervising Verano de Amor, the Mexican version of Verano del '98.
Cris Morena also finished production on Jake & Blake, the first English-speaking show shot entirely in Argentina with a local cast. Benjamin Rojas, which spent 1 year in USA to prepare for the roles (he plays both of the title characters), and Sofia Recca will star. Ex-Rebelde Way castmembers Victoria Moretti and Diego Child will also have key roles. The show, which is already completely shot, was initially planned for the Disney Channel worldwide and executives from the company participated in the production but there are no plans for the program to air on the United States for the time being. The show is about twins separated at birth that decide to switch places. One is a geek and the other one a very popular rock star. The show is already sold to Spain's Antena 3, which is already pre-producing the local version for another CMG show, ByB and for Disney Channel Latin America which will debut the show in mid-2009.
Other productions for 2009 includes the cell-phone and internet television show @trapados, starring Felipe Colombo and Benjamin Rojas, and dramatic weekly show Niños de Cristal, with an already shot pilot and is about kids who went through traumatic and changing experiences (based on true stories). Cris revelead in a conference in Tea Imagen university in Buenos Aires that Niños de Critical had 13 episodes but is still not sold to any channel and she can't confirm it will be since it deals with heavy topics. Each episode is about a young girl who was abused in some way and all of them are based on real cases. Niños de Cristal is directed by her son, Tomás.
Spain's Antena 3 will produce a local version for ByB. Pedro Damian, producer of Rebelde and Lola Erase Una Vez also announced his new project for Televisa is a remake of Verano del '98. Verano del Amor, the title of the Mexican remake, debuted in February and is co-produced by Cris Morena Groupa and RGB.
Cris Morena bought the rights for Spring Awakening and will adapt the musical for Argentina. The local version is scheduled to debut in January 2010 as Cris herself revealed in a conference in Tea Imagen university.
The show Rebelde Way is already being produced by Jennifer Lopez's production company for Fox. The working title is Rebels Day and the first draft of the script is already finalized and was approved by Cris herself. She plants to fly to Los Angeles for the casting.
- Martín Fierro Award
- CAPIF Award
- Gardel Award
- Nominated for Latin Grammy
- Cris Morena is the responsible for the ten biggest ticket-sellers musicals in Teatro Gran Rex, Argentina's biggest and most important theater.
- From 1996 to 2001, Cris occupied Teatro Gran Rex from June to September with Chiquititas. In 2002, RGB, her husband company, rented the theater first and Rebelde Way had to wait until September to make its live debut (hugely popular girlgroup Bandana did their concert at Gran Rex from July to September instead).
- In 2002, Cris decided to held the live concerts of Rebelde Way and Rincón de Luz in Luna Park, a much bigger venue than Gran Rex during the Winter vacation (July) since Gran Rex was already occupied with Mambrú (Popstars' second season winners). But the move from Canal 9 to América in the middle of the year messed with her plans and both live shows never debuted. Instead, Erreway did a few concerts in Gran Rex later that year and then the cast of Rincón and Rebelde did a huge number of concerts in Tel Aviv at the beginning of 2004.
- In 2004, Cris returned to Gran Rex and hasn't leaved ever since. In 2004 and 2005, from June to September Floricienta presented its musical. In 2006, Chiquititas. And in 2007 and 2008, Casi Ángeles.
- Floricienta was such a big hit and tickets sold out so fast Cris had to do two concerts in Estadio Velez (with a capacity of 40.000 people) to satisfy the demand. In 2005, after its three-month stint in Gran Rex, Floricienta did ten live concerts at Luna Park (with a capacity of 8,000) and ended the year with another live presentation at Velez.
- Chiquititas never held concerts outside Buenos Aires. The Brazilian version did live concerts in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
- Besides Buenos Aires, Floricienta also did live shows at Mar del Plata, Rosario and Córdoba. The International tour went to Israel, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador and Mexico (Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz).
- Erreway visited almost every city in Argentina: besides Buenos Aires, they held concerts at Mar del Plata, Rosario, Córdoba, Mendoza, San Juan, Salta, Tucumán, Neuquén, Junín, Chivilcoy, Santa Fe, Mar del Plata, Bahía Blanca, San Miguel, Río Cuarto, San Luis and San Nicolás. They also held concerts at Spain, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Paraguay.
- The Teen Angels are currently touring the interior of Argentina with shows at Rosário, Neuquén, Tucuman, Córdoba, Santa Fé, San Juan and Salta. They also held a concert in Montevideo and a showcase in Mexico City. Soon they'll get to Tel Aviv.
The actors of Cris Morena
Morena also has "discovered" some of the most popular actors in Argentina and Latin America including Michel Brown, Romina Gaetani, Celeste Cid, Luisana Lopilato, Camila Bordonaba, Benjamín Rojas, Felipe Colombo, Agustina Cherri, Marcela Kloosterboer, Luciano Castro, el Chino Fernandez, Agustina Lecouna, Manuela Pal, Ezequiel Castaño, Diego Mesaglio, Sebastian Stieben, María Fernanda Neil, Jazmín Beccar Varela, Victoria Maurette, Octavio Borro, Jazmín Stuart, Piru Sáez, Dolores Fonzi, Romina Yan, Jorge Maggio, Inés Palombo,Mariana Seligmann, Florencia Bertotti, Tomás Fonzi, among others.
The actor who has worked the most with Cris is Benjamín Rojas. He did Chiquititas from 98 to 2001, Rebelde Way from 2002 to 2003, Floricienta from 2004 to 2005 and finally Alma Pirata in 2006. In the end of 2007, Benjamin did a cameo appearance on Casi Ángeles first season finale. Currently, he is working in another two project with Cris: Blake & Jake, in which he play twins, and the 2 minutes show for cellphones called @tr@pados starring his Rebelde Way co-star Felipe Colombo.
Current actors under Cris Morena wing includes Mariana Esposito (Rincón de Luz, Floricienta, Chiquititas (2006), Casi Ángeles), Juan Pedro Lanzani (Chiquititas (2006), Casi Ángeles), María Eugenia Suárez (Rincón de Luz, recurring role in Floricienta, Casi Ángeles), Nico Riera (cameo in Alma Pirata, Casi Ángeles), Gastón Dalmau (recurring in Alma Pirata, Casi Ángeles), Stéfano de Gregorio (Rincón de Luz, Floricienta, Chiquititas (2006), Casi Ángeles), Agustín Sierra (Rincón de Luz, Chiquititas (1999–2001, recurring role in 2006), Floricienta, recurring role in Rebelde Way, Casi Ángeles), Candela Vetrano (Rincón de Luz, Floricienta, Chiquititas (2006), Casi Ángeles), and the TV debutants Rocío Igarzabal, Pablo Martínez, María del Cerro, Victorio D Alessandro and Daniela Aita (who left the show and is now working at Canal 13's Enseñame a Vivir).
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- ^ 'El Perdedor' Clarín
- ^ 'A Proved Formula' Clarín
- ^ 'Ahorrate la plata!' Clarín
- ^ 'Al Estilo de Cris Morena' La Nación
- ^ [www.terra.com.ar/ctematicos/television2002/59/59009.html 'Frase del año ¿Moria, Mirtha, Trezeguet, Cris o Polimeni?'] Terra
- ^ "Soy comercial"
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- ^ "Florencia Bertotti se destaca"
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- ^ http://www.crismorenagroup.com.ar
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- ^ http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=893688&high=casi%20angeles
- ^ http://www.clarin.com/diario/2009/05/15/espectaculos/c-00901.htm
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- http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1402976-fabrica-de-estrellas (actors and actress Cris Morena`s)
Movies AdaptationsRebelde (2004-2006) • Floribella (2005-2006) • Amor Mío (Mexico) (2005) • Floricienta (Columbia) (2005) • Floribella (Chile) (2006-2007) • Floribella (Portugal) (2006-2008) • Amor Mío (Russia) (2006) • Remix (2006-2007) • Lola...Érase una vez (2007-2008) • Onda Rebelde (2008) • Floricienta (Russia) (2008) • Floricienta (Romania) (2008) Related links Notable actors Main characters Main cast Supporting cast Supporting characters Related articlesErreway • Cris Morena Other media
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