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Twentieth TV to Launch Telenovelas in U.S. Syndication

Dec 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Twentieth Television is going forward with plans to launch “Desire,” a franchise of multiple English-language telenovelas from Latin America, the first time the globally popular format has been modified for English-speaking viewers in the U.S. market.

Twentieth, which is targeting a 2006 launch for the franchise, has secured “Desire” on the Fox owned-and-operated stations.

At least three novelas per year (65 episodes each) will be formatted for U.S. distribution by Twentieth Television under the “Desire” banner, including the series “Table for Three” from Colombia’s Caracol and the Cuban program “Fashion House” from Miami’s XYSTUS. Based on the telenovela format of relatively short, stripped runs, as opposed to the U.S. soap opera model of continuing story lines, “Desire” will feature story arcs using 65 one-hour episodes, with each “Desire” miniseries stripped Monday through Friday over the span of 13 weeks. At the end of the 13 weeks, a new drama will launch.

Through its deal with the Fox O&Os, Twentieth has cleared “Desire” in about 45 percent of the country. Twentieth Television will offer “Desire” at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention next month in Las Vegas.

“Table for Three” (originally titled “Mesa Para Tres”) chronicles two siblings who fight over the same woman. “Fashion House” (“Salir de Noche”) is a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion industry.

A staple in Latin American television, telenovelas have been dubbed and subtitled for distribution in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In the U.S., telenovelas rank in the top 10 programs among Hispanic viewers and comprise nearly 90 percent of the top two Spanish-language networks’ prime-time schedules.