Actress, singer and entrepreneur Jennifer Lopez will now hail from the cable block, having been recently named chief creative officer for English-language, Latino-targeted NUVOtv. In an interview with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead, Lopez talks about her new position at the network, binge viewing and rates the cable industry’s efforts to reach out to Latino viewers.
An edited version of the interview appears below.
MCN: Congratulations on being named chief creative officer. What is your vision for the network?
Jennifer Lopez: I always use the reference of the [film] Joy Luck Club years ago — it was so specific about the Asian culture, but it hit a chord with everybody. Every one of those stories was about somebody — it could have been you or me — but mostly it was about family and love and traditions, which are universal to everybody. So when I think about my vision for the network I think about creating programming and specials using our Latin talent and stories that become universal.
MCN: Why do you feel that NuvoTv’s English-language approach to targeting Hispanic viewers is the best approach, given the number of successful Spanish-language networks in the marketplace?
JL: It’s because we do speak English and we’ve been here a very long time (laughs).
MCN: I ask that because cable is still pushing Spanish language networks to reach Hispanic viewers.
JL: That does exist, but the one thing that they haven’t addressed is that there are English-speaking Latinos. NuvoTV is really the first one to address that audience and that faction. It’s the modern Latino; it’s me, it’s my sisters, my cousins and our kids who are coming up now. It’s even my mom’s generation — she never really watched Univision and Spanish novelas; she always watched American soap operas and West Side Story when she was coming up. There was never really anything where she saw herself reflected on TV — even in West Side Story, the Puerto Ricans weren’t Puerto Rican. (Laughs.)
MCN: How do you watch TV? Are you a binge viewer?
JL: I’m not, but my kids and my cousins are; they all do it that way. I see it on the planes as people watch TV on their iPods. It’s definitely a big part of how people consume TV right now.
MCN: How do you view the cable industry’s overall efforts in reaching Hispanic viewers? Have they done a good job?
JL: No and they’ve been trying for years. When NUVOtv approached me I thought this has been done for so long and they cannot get it. Yes, Univision [drawing higher ratings than] English networks obviously shows that there is a population and community there. But how do we get to the English-speaking [viewers] — no one has really, really done it. That’s what was interesting to me.
MCN: I see a lot of new NUVOtv shows produced by you and/or your company (Nuyorican Productions) but will you appear on the network on a regular basis?
JL: Yes, I am going to be on-air. There are certain things that we’re launching like the biography special, which came from an idea I had for quality programming on NUVO, and I thought that there are so many stories that people don’t know about, and that I and my kids don’t know about actors — musicians, entrepreneurs, historic figures. I want to do a show like that on this network where we develop biographies on those people. It’s inspiring and uplifting.