Upfront: Telemundo Details Telenovelas

Spanish-Language Network to Produce New Version of El Clon 5/12/2008 03:35:00 AM Eastern

New York -- Telemundo will team up with Brazilian network TV Globo for a new version of El Clon, which was a big hit when the NBC Universal network aired the original Brazilian version in 2002.

Sin Tetas No Hay Paradiso

The new production will switch the story to Los Angeles, part of Telemundo’s efforts to make an even bigger splash in the international Hispanic marketplace.

The El Clon announcement came at Telemundo’s upfront breakfast here Monday.

Probably the most controversial new telenovela will be Sin Tetas No Hay Paradiso (Without Breasts There Is No Paradise), based on Gustavo Bolivar’s best-selling novel about a 17-year-old prostitute who undergoes breast augmentation so she will be more desirable to customers.

Telemundo Communications Group president Don Browne called the program, which will debut June 16, “constructively provocative” and predicted that it will create conversations about teen-agers having their breasts enhanced, for whatever reason. The NBC network will also air a separately produced English-language version of the same, but it’s not scheduled yet.

Telemundo, which badly trails Univision in ratings, is making its mark as a producer, and it now makes more than 1,000 hours of primetime programming from three sites -- Miami; Bogota, Colombia; and Mexico City.

Browne and others Monday said Telemundo is pushing ahead with what it called its concept-integration model, which allows advertisers to place products in Telemundo shows starting from the planning and conception stage. Last year, Browne said, Clorox successfully used Telemundo programs that way, adding that when some products go by other names in other countries Telemundo sells programs to, the network has been able to digitally change the branding.

Other new telenovelas to air during the season include:

Por Que Diablos? (Why the Devil?), a violent story of betrayal, vengeance and evidently, from the clips, unbridled passion;

Lola Caladmidades (Calamity Lola), a tongue-in-cheek romance story about a ravishing beauty who has one big problem: Wherever she goes, bad luck follows;

Amor de Madre (A Mother’s Love), about a mother who gives birth to twins who are separated at birth and the love her mother showers on her remaining daughter. Of course, there’s a twist; and

El Juramento(Secret Lies),a melodrama about a hard-working businessman who discovers that his brother Diego’s suicide coincides with the ruthless scheming of a woman his brother loved.

Browne was philosophical about the economic climate as the upfronts commence, claiming that the down economy is an “equal-opportunity challenge” that won’t fall any harder for Spanish-language outlets than others.

Senior vice president of network sales and marketing Michael Rodriguez said he expects Telemundo’s year-to-year growth to outpace English-speaking networks, but he conceded that the climate for business is tough out there.

“The [unstable] economy is something that has come up in every single development meeting,” Rodriguez added.

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.