News

Univision Closes Spanish Upfront

5/15/2002 10:15 AM Eastern

New York -- Univision Communications Inc. wrapped up the Spanish-language
channels' 2002 upfront presentations Wednesday with word, among other things,
that its Univision broadcast network will launch the first animated series in
Spanish produced by -- and aimed at -- U.S. Latinos.

And while sister cable service Galavisión is, for now, de-emphasizing
U.S.-produced primetime shows in favor of news coverage and
entertainment/information fare from Grupo Televisa S.A. and Venevision -- TV
suppliers from Mexico and Venezuela, respectively -- Univision will increase its
U.S.-made fare at night, including a Los Angeles-shot novela.

Univision's animated project is Baldo, based on the popular newspaper
comic strip launched two years ago. Co-creators Hector Cantu and Carlos
Castellanos serve as the series' executive producers, with an all-Latino writing
and directing team in place and a cast of newcomers providing the voices.

Paloma Productions -- an independent company working with Univision's
program-development unit in Los Angeles -- will handle Baldo, as well as
Te Amare en Silencio (I Will Love You in Silence), the city-based
novela with a female deaf protagonist. Both shows will premiere this fall.

Other domestic productions coming to Univision next season include Quien
Dijo Miedo?
(Who's Afraid?), a two-hour Sunday-night stunt game;
Playa Tropical (Tropical Beach), a sketch comedy set on a tropical
resort; and weekend versions of Primer Impacto (First Impact), the
network's long-running late-afternoon newsmagazine.

Before a packed house at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall here, Univision
also delivered a progress report on TeleFutura, its five-month-old sister
broadcast network, which is still looking to line up cable affiliates.

More new shows are headed that channel's way, including a nightly game-show
hour led off by a Mexico-produced version of Family Feud from
Fremantlemedia Ltd., the same company behind the U.S. syndication version, as
well Game Show Network's Press Your Luck remake, Whammy! The All-New
Press Your Luck
.

TeleFutura's primetime format, mostly movies, will remain intact, filtering
in more flicks from Latin American sources.

The one notable addition is a game block from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting with
Que Dice la Gente? (What Say the People?), Fremantlemedia's
Feud production on Televisa. The show has been running and winning
audiences there since last summer, and episodes will be shown in sequence on
Telefutura this fall.

During daytime, Telefutura will premiere Corazones Rotos (Broken
Hearts
), a courtroom strip where married couples deal with emotional issues
through family members and a team of experts.