By Adam R Jacobson
NEW YORK (May 15, 2016) — Three days ago, a press breakfast held by NBCUniversal at the Museum of Arts and Design on tony Columbus Circle revealed a bevy of details on what Telemundo and cable TV sibling NBC Universo had in store for marketers eager to reach bilingual, bicultural millennials through social and digital platforms.
However, a cone of silence was placed on what the networks would be putting in the Upfront spotlight for 2016-17.
We can now reveal that Telemundo will be playing up four “Super Series” telenovelas, a Sunday early-prime children’s talent show, and a late show hosted by iconic former Univision personality Mario Kreutzberger — better known as “Don Francisco.”
Over at NBC UNIVERSO, season three of the dubbed-in-Spanish The Walking Dead will be highlighted, as are a Hispanic celebrity reality series.
There’s also a development and production deal with the estate of Jenni Rivera, perhaps the biggest draw for NBC UNIVERSO’s previous incarnation, mun2. The arrangement allows NBCUniversal’s Hispanic properties to produce a number of series and specials “inspired” by Rivera–including a bio-musical television series that sounds similar in concept to the Celia telenovela based on the life of the late Cuban entertainer Celia Cruz.
There will also be a “Jenni Vive” tribute concert in memory of the regional Mexican vocalist, who perished in a plane crash in Mexico in December 2012.
“The U.S. Hispanic market continues to be the biggest growth opportunity for any business,” Cesar Conde, Chairman NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said in prepared remarks. “We are investing in the most innovative original content, a $250 million state-of-the-art facility and talent in front of and behind the cameras. We are pleased our investments are paying off.”
Luis Silberwasser, President of Telemundo Network and NBC UNIVERSO, added, “Heading into this Upfront season, we’ve gained more viewers year-over-year in Monday-Friday prime-time among key demos and are capitalizing on that momentum continuing to close the gap with [Univision].”
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El Chema, a spin-off of El Señor de los Cielos starring Mauricio Ochmann, tells the story of Chema Venegas’ first years working in Mexico’s world of organized crime and his ascension to becoming the renowned cartel leader seen in Cielos, which is returning for a fifth season on Telemundo.
Meanwhile, viewers will be treated to a series based on the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez as his legacy has resulted in the near collapse of the oil-rich nations government and infrastructure.
Hugo Chavez, El Comandante stars Andres Parra as Chavez in “a fictional story inspired on the life of Hugo Chavez.”
Another key Telemundo prime-time offering is Señora Acero 3, La Coyote, the third season of the successful Señora Acero Super Series franchise, starring Sergio Goyri, Carolina Miranda and Luis Ernesto Franco. The series focuses on Vicenta Rigores, a courageous and rebellious woman who stands out in the male-dominated world of smuggling as the most feared and notorious coyote on the U.S. Mexican border.
The breasts are back!
Sin Senos Sí Hay Paraíso, the sequel to Sin Senos No Hay Paraíso, tells the story of Catalina “La pequeña” (the small one), who seeks to redeem her family from the world of violence and prostitution that has brought them so much loss and misery. Starring Fabian Rios, Catherine Siachoque and Carolina Gaitan, the new story reflects the reality of a new generation of women determined to succeed in life without resorting to plastic surgery or falling for the lure of easy money.
Season two of La Querida del Centauro continues the story of Centauro’s revenge on Yolanda, his former mistress, and Gerardo, the detective who sought to bring him to justice. After being on the run from the authorities for two years and tired of the bloody war between his cartel and his rival’s, Centauro decides to fake his and his son’s deaths. This way, he will be able to rebuild his empire without the police after him, and, more importantly, allow him to carry out his plan for vengeance. Upon hearing the news of the deaths, Yolanda and her daughter Cristina, as well as Gerardo and his adoptive son, Gato, are able to return to Mexico from Canada, where they have been living under the Witness Protection Program. But it won’t be an easy return for Yolanda, as el Centauro will use all of his cunning and power to destroy her and her loved ones in his quest for revenge.
New to Telemundo is La Doña, based on Doña Barbara, the literary work by Romulo Gallegos. It’s a story of revenge and ambition, seduction and betrayal; all told from the perspective of an offended and abused woman named Altagracia.
In other Telemundo news, two musical dramas and comedies with working titles will be shared to Upfront attendees. One follows the story of Julio Cesar Solar, a Regional Mexican Music idol, whose death is the spark “that ignites this story of betrayal, rivalry, love and the search for fame at any cost.” The other is a series written by veteran actress Angelica Vale that shows what happens when an ultimate fan of a famous telenovela actor link up.
Family Viewing Dominates Sunday Nights
With a working title of Los Reporteros, Conde and Silberwasser are hoping Telemundo’s multi-million dollar investment in its news operations will also result in interest for Hispanic television’s long-awaited answer to CBS’s 60 Minutes. This hourlong news magazine produced by Noticias Telemundo will showcase four interviews with politicians and celebrities.
The show will likely air opposite 60 Minutes, at 7pm ET/6pm CT.
At 8pm ET/7pm CT is not La Voz Kids but a new series with the working title of Siempre Niños — a kid-focused talent show. In the 9pm ET/8pm CT slot is a show featuring ZooMiami wildlife expert Ron Magill, guest celebrities, and exotic creatures and wild animals. The 10pm ET/9pm CT slot goes to Don Francisco, who gets an hour-long variety show that will likely borrow ideas and inspiration from the now-concluded Saturday evening series Sabado Gigante but on a new night and in a truncated format.
The abundance of family fare is striking for Telemundo, as it recalls a programming strategy not seen on English-language television in decades.
Lastly, Telemundo is expanding its weekday morning show, Un Nuevo Día, by 90 minutes, starting in early 2017. The news and entertainment program will now air from 7am ET-11:30am ET, allowing for continuous coverage on both the East Coast and West Coast. The live show is hosted by Rashel Diaz, Adamari Lopez, Ana Maria Canseco, Daniel Sarcos and Diego Schoening.
NBC UNIVERSO GETS REAL
“Zapata Justice” – Set in a Texas border town, “Zapata Justice” follows the Mexican-American members of the small town’s Sheriff’s Department as they fight to protect their own from dangerous criminal activity.
“The Riveras” – The celeb-reality series follows the lives of the late regional Mexican music icon Jenni Rivera’s biggest legacy – her children. The Riveras are Mexican Regional Music’s most beloved family, but you’ve never seen them like this. See Chiquis Rivera and her younger siblings step up and pull together to raise each other with humor and love; and go for their biggest dreams.
Editor’s Note: Telemundo declined to provide details regarding its 2016-2017 Upfront prior to the editorial deadline and publication of the 2016 Hispanic TV Upfront Guide. Information was first provided to members of the press May 14 with an embargo date of May 15 at 4pm. HispanicMarketOverview.com and HispanicAd.com have agreed to abide by Telemundo’s embargo.