After ‘Cristela’ Cancellation, ABC Hopes to Fill Latino Family Comedy Void With Boyle Heights Sitcom

Lead Photo: Felipe Esparza
Felipe Esparza
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After a handful of false starts (see: Cristela, Vlad) US television networks continue searching for that holy grail of Latino programming. The latest project in development on this front comes from ABC in the form of a single-camera sitcom (think The Office, 30 Rock) about a trio of Mexican-American brothers living in LA’s working-class Boyle Heights neighborhood.

The idea comes from veteran TV writers Peter Murrieta and Bobby Bowman, who previously collaborated on Murrieta’s short-lived autobiographical sitcom Greetings from Tuscon, about a mixed Mexican-American family living in a well-to-do Arizona neighborhood. Murrieta has also racked up writing credits on Latino-themed comedies like Cristela, Lopez, and Netflix’s Latino-themed reboot of One Day at a Time.

Confirmed for two of the three principal roles are wild-haired Mexican-American comedians Felipe Esparza and Dustin Ybarra, who should have no problem convincing television audiences that they share some genetic material. Esparza was born in Sinaloa and has been making his name on the stand-up circuit since winning NBC’s Last Comic Standing back in 2010, and his recent Showtime special “They’re Not Gonna Laugh at You” is making waves on Netflix. Ybarra also comes from a stand-up background, but lately has been landing regular appearances on TV series like Fox’s Gotham and NBC’s The Player.

The currently untitled comedy will explore sibling family dynamics through a classic setup: a responsible and ambitious older brother shares a roof with a beloved but troublemaking middle child and a caring baby brother who holds the family together. With the likes of Murrieta, Esparza, and Ybarra signed on to the project, this sitcom is already off to a promising start, but there’s still a long way to go before it even makes it onto the air. In the meantime, we can be sure that US-based networks will continue their quest for that Latino-themed primetime hit.