NBC Nears Completion of Telemundo Transfer


Just hours before the Federal Communications Commission approved a plan to transfer Telemundo Communications Group Inc.'s stations to NBC last Wednesday, the Hispanic broadcaster wrested one of rival Univision Communications Inc.'s leading news personalities.

Maria Celeste Arrarás will join Telemundo as host of her own newsmagazine, A Rojo Vivo
(Red Live), starting April 29. She's anchored Univision's newscasts since 1989 and in recent years has co-hosted Primer Impacto
(First Impact), that service's late-afternoon newsmagazine.

Arrarás will also serve as managing editor of the show, which will run opposite Primer Impacto
at 5 p.m. (EDT).

will focus on infotainment, compared with the investigative, often tabloid-style bent of Impacto
and Occurio Asi,
current 5 p.m. entry, which will
end April 26.

The announcement of Arrarás's hiring came hours before the FCC consented to the transfer of 13 full-power and 17 low-power and translator stations from Telemundo to NBC. The Peacock Network paid some $2.7 billion for the Spanish-language net.

Under the ruling, NBC will have to divest the Hispanic broadcaster's KWHY-TV in Los Angeles within a year, because it also owns two other stations in the market — KNBC-TV and Telemundo's KVEA-TV.

Arraras is also expected to produce stories for MSNBC and Dateline NBC, as well as host a number of Telemundo specials.

"I hope it's a marriage made in heaven. I feel that way," Arrarás said. She declined to say how much she'll earn from her Telemundo and NBC assignments.

"I'll pay lots of taxes, but I'm making less than Katie Couric," she said, referring to the Today
co-host and her new, multimillion-dollar contract.

Meanwhile, Univision offshoot Telefutura has adjusted its primetime lineup, less than three months after its January debut,

While the network's nightly movies remain, surrounding programs have shifted. La Oreja, an hour-long entertainment magazine hour from Mexican media power Televisa, will lead the lineup. Novela El Inutil
(The Useless) will follow the films.

Other Televisa productions will be introduced in different dayparts, including a set of children's variety and cartoon shows on weekends.

Telefutura has also yet to line up any standalone cable affiliates. Operators now connected with the channel take must-carry feeds from the network's broadcast affiliates, mostly Univision-owned stations.

Telefutura and sister cable network Galavision will play a role in Univision's exclusive Spanish-language coverage in the U.S. of the World Cup soccer tournament from Korea and Japan from May 31 to June 30.

Univision will carry 56 live games from the 31-day tournament, while Telefutura will air the remaining eight games, plus replays of all Univision coverage.