Gina Rodriguez is not interested in sitting around and waiting for opportunities to rock up at her doorstep. No, instead, the Jane The Virgin star is looking to make tangible change in the kind of stories that get the green light for television. With confirmation that Rodriguez signed an overall deal with CBS Studios that is, excitingly, multi-year in length, she ascends to a whole new echelon as a true Hollywood power player. The deal will allow Rodriguez and her production company, I Can and I Will Productions, to option a multitude of projects for network, cable, and streaming platforms. Not only does Rodriguez acquire a unique new position through the deal, but it means that she can act as the arbiter of those necessary, timely, and engaging stories that could help change intersectional conversations happening in television and society as a whole.
Take Rodriguez's first announced project, the German format Dr. Illegal. The project has already been optioned by I Can and I Will Productions and it looks like it will be tackling some rather timely issues. Per The Wrap, Dr. Illegal will focus on "refugee seekers from a humorous point of view and is set in an illegal doctor’s office in an asylum seeker’s office." From the sound of it, Dr. Illegal will be the first many series and stories that Rodriguez now has the power to bring to television.
Rodriguez's deal with CBS Studios comes at a time when we seriously need to keep pushing the conversations on television in diverse directions. With worries that the next few years in television will reflect the political climate (read: white, conservative, and traditional), the desire to maintain the progressive agenda is not only understandable, it is imperative. Shows like black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Atlanta, and, yes, Jane The Virgin cannot be anomalies, where it becomes unlikelier that new shows of their ilk will join them on television.
Rodriguez has not only becoming one of the most fascinating women working in television (and rightfully rewarded for her work), she has also dedicated time to philanthropic work, establishing the We Will Foundation and working with the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. As a woman who is committed to bringing fresh and diverse voices to the forefront, Rodriguez will no doubt continue to keep the focus on stories that need to be told rather than stories that placate audiences. For that, I give her a mighty round of applause. So, I'm excited to see what comes from this new deal; more of Rodriguez's voice in the mix is always good for business.