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`Ugly Betty' in English, en Español

September 4, 2006 12:00 AM

ABC is taking advantage of a built-in audience for its new Thursday night hour "Ugly Betty," which is based on the popular Colombian telenovela "Yo Soy Betty, la Fea" (I Am Betty, the Ugly One). "La Fea Mas Bella" (The Ugliest Pretty Girl), a Mexican adaptation of the original "Betty," is pulling terrific ratings on Univision, the leading Spanish-language broadcaster. ABC is capitalizing on that success for its English-language version with its own Spanish-language ad campaign. On one billboard, "Betty" is touted as "so ugly we did it in English," with the word "fea" underlined in what is clearly an homage to the Univision series. "We're going after an audience that knows and loves Betty," said Darren Schillace, ABC's VP of advertising. "It is a nod to their show. We are taking it to another level and letting them enjoy the show all over again."

ABC's "Betty" premieres Sept. (that's short for Septiembre) 28.

Raising the Ante

Texas Hold 'Em met Hollywood largesse Aug. 19, when the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors Foundation held a poker tournament and casino night as a fund-raiser to help endow the foundation's ongoing student filmmaker completion grant program. High rollers at the event, which raised $50,000, included actors Jennifer Tilly (pictured here with foundation president Chuck Fries), Joan Van Ark, Jean Smart and Dick Van Patten and executives David Gerber, Herman Rush, Bob Finkel, Lionel Chetwynd and caucus Chairman Vin Di Bona. -TOM GILBERT

Jumping `Judy' Back on WCBS-TV

CBS Paramount's top-rated syndicated courtroom series "Judge Judy" is making the leap back to WCBS-TV in New York this fall, and the station's president and general manager, Peter Dunn, couldn't be more excited. "Judy" will be in session at 4 p.m. (ET), which Mr. Dunn expects will boost his 5 p.m. local news and even the network news, now anchored by Katie Couric. "We need somebody else in our corner, and `Judge Judy' is finally the person to have," he said. WCBS's gain is rival WNBC-TV's loss. WNBC snagged "Judy" back in 2000. The saga of "Judy" in New York is due in part to Fox TV Stations' Dennis Swanson, who as GM at WNBC snatched "Judy" from WCBS right before he went over to run the Viacom stations-which include WCBS. Last year Mr. Swanson nabbed "Judy" for WCBS again right before he left to join Fox. No word yet on whether Mr. Swanson is gunning for a "Judy" move to Fox, and then to complete the circle, a job back at WNBC.

CBS Spells Out Sundays

CBS's new post-7 p.m. (ET) Sunday night lineup is a poet's dream: "Amazing Race," "Cold Case" and "Without a Trace" all running back to back. To play up the rhyming titles, CBS is employing "human anagrams" to promote the new shows at various events, starting with CBS's coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. Brandishing sandwich boards emblazoned with letters, five CBS staffers (presumably college English majors) will spell out "Race," "Case" and "Trace," while a sixth will be on hand when the five spell out "After" to flash the "60 Minutes" logo. Considering employment costs alone, CBS is lucky that "Two and a Half Men" or "How I Met Your Mother" didn't move to Sundays.