‘Grand Hotel’ opens for summer business on ABC

Eva Longoria has multiple jobs on new drama series

Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez star in “Grand Hotel,” premiering Monday on ABC.

As a setting that can service many characters and plots over a long span, one of the best is a hotel.

Eva Longoria knows it, since the “Desperate Housewives” alum has chosen it – as an executive producer, a sometimes director and a guest star – for “Grand Hotel,” an ABC series premiering Monday, June 17. Sharing the title of a classic movie that won the 1932 Oscar for best picture, the new show is quite contemporary as a Miami Beach resort’s owner (played by “Weeds” and “The Bridge’s” Demian Bichir) mulls selling the site, while his grown children and his employees have dramas of their own.

“This was a format from Spain,” Longoria explains, “and it was a period piece, and we contemporized it to modern-day Miami. It has a lot of themes of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs,’ but we thought it was very unique to have the ‘upstairs’ be a Hispanic family and to show a different community. It’s based in Miami, so we’re authentic to that world. Nine of our 11 (regular) cast members are people of color, so we’re really proud of the adaptation that we did.”

“Grand Hotel” also features Roselyn Sanchez (“Without a Trace”), Bryan Craig, Wendy Raquel Robinson (“The Steve Harvey Show”), Denyse Tontz, Lincoln Younes, Anne Winters (“Tyrant”), Shalim Ortiz, Chris Warren, Feliz Ramirez and Justina Adorno. That many actors should infer a variety of subplots, which range in this case from a secret pregnancy to a revenge plot against the hotelier.

Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez star in “Grand Hotel,” premiering Monday on ABC.

As the figure at the center of “Grand Hotel,” Bichir reflects, “This is my third time on American TV, and basically, I respond to the same thing. I’m looking for strong material whether it’s TV, films or theater, and that’s what I found here. To me, it’s about the human experience … and who’s in charge of (the given project). And I love Eva. No one can say ‘no’ to Eva. A great, powerful captain can lead such a big ship into a happy port.”

Cast as Bichir’s “Grand Hotel” wife, Sanchez also is a major Longoria supporter, saying she’s “eternally grateful” for having benefited from the actress-producer’s influence. Longoria claims Sanchez “taught me everything I know. The only reason I’m here is because of Ros.”

In turn, Sanchez deems Longoria “one of my dear, dear friends personally, and to see her grow and become who she has become, which is such an important figure for the Latino community and the business — it’s wonderful to get that phone call (from her) saying, ‘I have this new project, and I see you doing it. Will you take this ride with me? She’s done it many times, and I hope it continues.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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