Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez Is Developing Two Immigration Shows for CBS TV


By Liam Mathews,

With President Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shields young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation dominating the news cycle, the announcement of Gina Rodriguez's production projects is extremely timely: the Jane the Virgin star is developing two different pilots about the lives of Latino immigrants in the United States.

Rodriguez is developing a pilot for the CW called Illegal that will follow an undocumented family through the eyes of the teenage son, Deadline reports. Illegal will be written and co-executive produced by Jane the Virgin writer Rafael Agustin and is based on his real-life experience. Agustin was born in Ecuador and grew up in America. It wasn't until he was in high school that he learned that he and his parents were undocumented.

Illegal is described as a one-hour dramedy about sixteen-year-old Rafael, "a charming but bumbling high school student just trying to survive puberty. But when this all-American teenager discovers that he is not American at all, his perfect Honor Roll world is turned upside down."

Rodriguez, whose company I Can & I Will Productions has a production deal with CBS TV Studios, is also developing a medical drama for CBS called Have Mercy. It's based on a German show called Dr. Illegal and will tell the story of a Latina doctor who immigrates to Miami and takes a job working as a nurse's assistant, since she's not licensed to work as a doctor. But she risks everything to give back to the community when she opens a makeshift clinic in her apartment. The series will be written and executive produced by Queen of the South co-executive producer Dailyn Rodriguez.

These projects are clearly ones close to Rodriguez's heart, as she has been a vocal supporter of DACA and has been very vigorous on social media with pro-DACA activism since Trump announced his repeal. "For years this is all I wanted to do. Bring Latino stories to the screen to create love, tolerance and empathy. LATINOS STAND UP!" Rodriguez tweeted about the two projects.

The announcement of the Rodriguez's two in-development shows comes the day after CBS announced another immigration story in development called Welcome to Maine from The Millers creator Greg Garcia. The potential sitcom would follow an immigrant and his daughter who move to an insular town in the whitest state in America. CBS has been criticized for a lack of diversity before, but Rodriguez and Garcia's projects are steps in the right direction to rectify that.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, the CW's parent company.)



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