Telemundo Unveils New Slate to Advertisers

May 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo unveiled its fall 2006 schedule Tuesday, sticking with its strategy of developing original telenovelas in prime time while challenging rival Univision with a variety show and game show

“We made a big bet by investing in original programming,” Telemundo President Don Browne said on a conference call during the upfront advertising sales market in New York to discuss his prime-time slate. “We promised last year that we would perform and we’ve stayed absolutely on focus with our strategy.”

Long a distant second to Univision among audiences, Telemundo owns the TV shows it airs, giving it a chance to capitalize on new revenue opportunities. That strategy gives the network a larger return on international sales and new revenue opportunities such as the digital distribution ventures that have become a hallmark of this year’s upfront.

A three-hour block of Monday-Friday televnovelas beginning at 7 p.m. (ET) will continue to be the heart of Telemundo’s programming strategy. That will be followed by “Decisiones,” a closed-ended drama series based on real-life events, which continues to air at 10 p.m.

The network, owned by NBC Universal, is also looking this fall to be competitive on the weekends, launching three new programs, including “El Gran Show” (“The Big Show”) a two-hour variety show airing Saturday nights at 7 p.m.

Also airing on the weekends at 9:30 p.m. is “Vas o No Vas,” the Spanish-language version of “Deal or No Deal,” which will feature as host Hector Sandarti, who also emcees the Mexican version of the show. A third series, “Seguro y Urgente” (“Urgent and Guaranteed”), about a postal worker who gets emotionally involved in the lives of people to whom he delivers packages, will run at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

“On Saturday, we sensed some weakness” in Univision’s lineup, said Ramon Escobar, Telemundo’s executive VP of entertainment. “We need to be very aggressive on Saturdays and Sunday. We didn’t have the horses and the architecture in place a year ago, but now we do.”

The network is also taking aim at Univision in the Monday-Friday daytime and early fringe periods with the new daytime telenovela “Cuatro Rosas” (“Four Roses”) at 1 p.m. and the new game show “Buena Fortuna” (“Good Fortune”) at 3 p.m. The arrival of these two shows means that “Caso Cerrado” (“Case Closed”) will move to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday, while “Doce Corazones” (“12 Hearts”) will move to 4 p.m.

The network declined to give a complete schedule breakdown Tuesday, but did outline where some of its telenovelas would be placed on the schedule.

“La Viuda de Blanco” (“Blanco’s Widow”), a story about a woman trying to clear her name and reclaim her twin sons after a stint in prison, is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

That will be followed by “Dame Chocolate” (“Give Me Chocolate”), which chronicles the life of an unattractive woman whose life changes after she inherits a fortune.

At 9 p.m. is “Madre Luna” (“Mother Moon”), which tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a man half her age.

Other telenovelas slated to air on the network include “Marina,” which is about a young woman finds herself among the wealthy in Acapulco, Mexico, and discovers love, and “Zorro: la Espada y la Rosa” (“Zorro: The Sword and The Rose”), a series about the masked hero that’s jointly produced with Sony Pictures Television International and Zorro Productions.

Meanwhile, mun2, Telemundo’s cable network aimed at English-speaking Hispanics, said Tuesday that it will debut three new programs during the 2006-2007 season, including “The Chica Project,” a half-hour reality series aimed at young Hispanic females; “Have U Cine,” a monthly movie series that will feature commentary from big-name Spanish-language entertainers. “Hecho en Heaven” is a dating show in which six men and six woman use astrology, pick-up lines and powers of seduction to land a date.