New From Los Cuatro Grandes5/18/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Year-old broadcaster Telefutura focuses on counterprogramming its sister network Univision. In prime time, that means movies and sports to offset Univision's novelas
and news. Telefutura's entertainment offerings for the coming season include three new series: Noticias Calientes,
a behind-the-scenes comedy about a network newscast and its staff; animated Betty Toons, a spinoff of Univision's hit novelaBetty la Fea
featuring the Betty
cast as kids; and reality/game-show hybrid Armas de Seducción, which challenges men and women to use their powers of seduction to win the competition.
NBC-owned Telemundo is sticking with novelas
in prime time with a sprinkling of reality shows. Its slate of six new novelas
includes U.S. productions Amores de Mercado, a rags-and-riches story of two men who swap identities, and La Ley Del Silencio, exploring the life of a young Houston priest. Reality show Protagonistas de La Fama, where musicians, actors and dancers will compete for a grand prize, is the third installment of the Protagonistas
franchise. On new Bachelorette-style show La Cenicienta,
a young Latina and her family pick her new novio
from a batch of suitors. Telemundo is plotting two big weekend miniseries: Zapata, the story of Mexican folk legend Emiliano Zapata, and Rumberas, a love story set in the 1940s.
Already the dominant player in the U.S. Hispanic-TV marketplace, Univision is largely keeping its proven mix of novelas, news, sports and movies. Some innovations are planned for next season, however. Novela Rebeca, which the network bills as the first interactive novela, will allow viewers to vote on the ending. Univision's first originally produced novela, Te Amare en Silencio,
a story of a deaf woman searching for love, was shot and produced in Los Angeles. Breaking from the novela
form is new weekly scripted legal drama Al Filo de la Ley, about an Hispanic law firm in Los Angeles. In summer 2004, Univision welcomes its next big soccer event, the Latin American championship tournament, Copa America 2004.
The newest entrant in Spanish-language broadcasting is Azteca America, the American offspring of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca. Azteca America is aiming for 18- to 49-year-old Hispanic viewers with programming—novelas, talk shows and soccer—imported from the Mexican parent. In prime time, Azteca America will offer novelas
and is also planning a half-hour sitcom. The network projects that it will reach 83% of U.S. Hispanics by the end of the year with stations in 44 markets.