In Depth

Telemundo Hires Cristina, Adds Bilingual Telenovela App; Spanish-Language Network's Upfront Focuses on Shift in America's Mind-Set

By Laurel Wentz
Advertising Age

Spanish-language Telemundo Communications Group announced new programming ranging from a weekend variety show for former Univision talk show host Cristina Saralegui to an online sports channel called Deportes Mobile at the NBC Universal-owned network's upfront on Tuesday evening, held at the American Museum of Natural History.

Also on Tuesday Telemundo Digital launched a bilingual Telemundo Novelas App for the iPhone and iPad, with L'Oreal as the launch sponsor.

Telemundo also introduced a concept dubbed "The Shift" to describe the shift in mind-set as well as demographics and TV audiences fueled by the growth in the U.S. Hispanic population to 16% of U.S. inhabitants, even though only about 4% of ad dollars currently target Latinos.

“The marketing conversation has shifted, and 'multicultural' is no longer niche…it is driving mainstream growth," said Jacqueline Hernandez, Telemundo's chief operating officer.

Telemundo also announced four new telenovelas, including "A Maid in Manhattan" about a humble single mother working as a maid at a fancy New York hotel who falls in love with an aristocratic politician in a case of mistaken identity.

In other announcements, Telemundo's Branded Entertainment unit is launching "MIA Mundo," a series of stories reflecting viewers' lifestyles and featuring marketers' brands. The network will also develop a research panel of young Hispanics called "cultural connectors" to offer insights that will help Telemundo create new programming ideas.

Cristina Saralegui, sometimes referred to as the Oprah Winfrey of Spanish-language TV, will develop, host and executive produce her Telemundo variety show starting at the end of this year, as well as starting a radio show on Sirius radio. She also has a home goods line at Kmart. Ms. Saralegui, a Cuban-American in her sixties, hosted "El Show de Cristina" for 20 years until Univision canceled the talk show last year.