Spanish-language television's first crack at a 24-hour children's service is
set to launch Saturday on digital-cable platforms nationwide.
Sorpresa!, owned and operated by New York-based media company Firestone
Communications, went public with its existence Tuesday morning, declaring that
it will premiere on 350 cable systems covering about 400,000 digital customers
Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and the National Cable Television
Cooperative are among MSOs set to carry the network.
Firestone said it inherited the system agreements from the principal
creditors of Hispanic Television Network (HTVN), a combo
broadcast-cable-distributed network that went bankrupt last fall.
Firestone also picked up HTVN's U.S. technical facilities and production
studios. And former HTVN official Luis Estrada is on board as the channel's
programming vice president.
The channel will offer a mixed bag of Spanish-language fare from various
sources. Animation, comedy, talk shows, game shows, music, movies and
special-events programs will be featured, produced by or acquired from U.S. and
Latin American vendors.
"By utilizing HTVN's assets, we're able to initiate a positive change on the
programming landscape and also provide a valuable outlet for America's Hispanic
community," said Leonard Firestone, chairman and CEO of both Firestone
Communications and Sorpresa!, in a prepared statement.