LOS ANGELES -- Three years ago, Fox Hispanic Media turned on the lights and soft-launched MundoFox, a new Spanish-language broadcast network targeting U.S. Hispanics.
MundoFox was designed from the get-go as an ambitious stab at a sophisticated Latino audience that craved more than the “Cinderella”-style telenovela or family oriented live variety show.
With sleek scripted dramas, a popular early prime game show adapted from Family Feud, and a strong emphasis on local and national news, MundoFox entered the scene with gusto, its executives confident it would eventually rival Univision Communications’ No. 2 network, TeleFutura (now UniMas), for viewers. That day will never come for MundoFox.
On July 16, Colombia’s RCN Television Group — Fox International Channels’ joint-venture partner in the Fox Hispanic Media-managed network — announced it had purchased 21st Century Fox’s interest in MundoFox. Also gone is the Fox brand, as the network is now known as MundoMax.
And RCN has said goodbye to roughly 35 journalists associated with the national Noticias MundoFox newscasts, which have been “canceled” as part of the wholesale rebranding.
News programming is expected to return in 2016, however, as RCN executives are reviewing MundoMax’s entire programming slate.
"RCN is excited to be carrying on the MundoFox network that we started jointly with our partner FIC," said Morales, whose resume includes a stint as president of Telemundo Station Group. "We look forward to serving the remarkably vibrant and dynamic U.S. Hispanic community with our successful programs and are proud to dedicate our efforts to the continuous growth and success of the network.”
One notable holdover from MundoFox is the hour-long 100 Latino Dijeron, the Family Feud-style game show that emerged as one of its lone ratings successes. The competition program still airs at 7 p.m. weeknights. Also still on the primetime lineup is the Tims Productions telenovela Suleimán, El Gran Sultán, dubbed into Spanish from its original Turkish (Muhteşem Yüzyıl).
At 9 p.m. weeknights is La Guerrera, a dubbed-into-Spanish version of Rede Globo’s Brazilian soap opera Salve Jorge. At 10 p.m., affiliates such as Meruelo Media’s KWHY Los Angeles will continue to air local news. KWHY will now air the 30-minute Noticias MundoMax 22 weeknights at 5 p.m. and at 10 p.m. Veteran news anchor José Ronstadt, widely known for his time at Telemundo-owned KVEA, co-anchors KWHY’s newscasts with station veteran Palmira Perez.
It was not known at press time if other affiliates would continue their 30-minute local newscasts.
MundoFox until July 27 aired a 10:30 p.m. national newscast anchored by Rolando Nichols and originating from Los Angeles. Nichols in the mid-2000s anchored a now-defunct newscast for TeleFutura (now UniMás).
Today, the studio is dark; it is believed Nichols and correspondents Carolina Sarassa and Max Aub are all seeking new opportunities. The Los Angeles studio made MundoFox the only Spanish-language network serving U.S. Hispanics with a newsroom outside of the Eastern time zone.
Replacing the national newscast, which also aired at 5:30 p.m. on MundoFox’s more than 50 affiliates, is the reality exposé show Most Shocking.
RCN informed the multicultural marketing and advertising community of MundoMax’s official launch with a promotional spot on its website featuring the tagline, “Live to The Max.”
One advertiser has already signed on with MundoMax, automaker Dodge. Thirty-second commercials, featuring Machete actor Danny Trejo in character, appear on the MundoMax.com website, which features detailed program information and sections devoted to sports, horoscopes, and health and beauty.
Meanwhile, Fox Hispanic Networks continues, with Spanish-language cable television networks Nat Geo Mundo, Fox Life and Fox Deportes as its three U.S. offerings. Tom Maney remains as executive vice president of Fox Hispanic Networks. Andy Checo, MundoFox’s former director of publicity and community affairs, has joined public-relations firm Havas Formula in New York as a director.