For an English-language network, the mid-July debut of a new primetime show is largely considered “summertime fare” and a placeholder for programs previewed during the May upfronts and set to bow in September or early October.
In the Hispanic TV world, there’s no summertime dip in viewership, with Latinos who consume Spanish-language television just as likely to watch a telenovela on a steamy August evening as they are on a snowy evening in winter.
That’s why Telemundo has set Tuesday, July 19, as a premiere night for not just one weeknight primetime program, but for three new shows. The Spanish-language broadcast network is essentially replacing three hour-long primetime programs at once.
At 8 p.m., popular Latino actor Carlos Ponce will return to Spanish-language television to join Maritza Rodriguez, Marimar Vega and Adriana Barraza in the romantic comedy telenovela Silvana Sin Lana. The plot centers around a high society woman who loses everything and must avoid falling in love with a fishmonger in the lower-class neighborhood she now lives in.
The 9 p.m. hour belongs to Sin Senos Si Hay Paraiso, the long-awaited sequel to the successful Colombian telenovela Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso. The story now centers around a woman struggling to get ahead in life who wants to demonstrate her true value — without resorting to plastic surgery and without falling into the temptation of the glamorous life of drug trafficking.
At 10 p.m. comes the return of “super series” Señora Acero, officially titled Señora Acero 3: El Coyote. This installment focuses on Mexican immigrants struggling to achieve the American dream while avoiding both detention by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and drug lords who seek immigrants to kidnap and use as slaves in the illegal narcotics trade.
Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser told Multichannel News that the unconventional decision to replace three primetime shows at once — especially given Telemundo's strong June ratings performance — is part of a “deliberate strategy” to entice viewers and show the strength of the network's programming.
“People are familiar with our 10 p.m. ‘super series,’ Señora Acero, while Sin Senos is a sequel to a successful and bold telenovela that in 2007 and 2008 was shocking and intriguing,” Silberwasser said. “At 8 p.m. we have the romantic take on the telenovela, and having Carlos Ponce on board sends a strong message as to our commitment to bring top talent to our viewers.”
“We asked ourselves about giving viewers the best in one big night,” he added. “It may be risky. It may be bold. But, it is part of the vision to market Telemundo in a different way, and to change the perception of the Hispanic viewers and what they are all about. We don’t save our premieres until the fall, as there is no lull in the summer when you track our audience. We are enjoying growth, and we hope to continue that momentum.”
Eight weeks after Telemundo’s inclusion in the NBCUniversal Enterprises combined Upfront presentation in New York, the network’s advertisers are “seeing the difference” its current programming has delivered in the Nielsen ratings.
“If you look at the days when Univision has not had Copa América coverage, Telemundo’s regular programming has beaten them,” Silberwasser said. “We are neck-and-neck with them, and the advertisers see this shift in market share and have expressed excitement about the innovation that Telemundo is bringing to the marketplace.”
According to Nielsen data shared by Telemundo, the network outperformed Univision 10 times among adults 18-49 between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. weeknights. Furthermore, the network for the first time ranked No. 1 among adults 18-49 for four consecutive nights between May 30 and June 2.
With all of NBCUniversal's networks set to air programming from the 2016 Summer Olympics from Aug. 5-21, Telemundo is poised for antoher total-day ratings uptick. Telemundo will focus on soccer and diving during the daytime hours, leaving the primetime coverage to sister network NBC.
“The primetime programming on Telemundo stays as it is through the Olympics,” Silberwasser said. A nightly Olympics recap will air at 11:30 p.m. ET, he said.
In addition to its strong national performance, Telemundo has also seen Nielsen strength at its Los Angeles owned-and-operated station KVEA.
According to Nielsen, soon-to-conclude super series El Señor de Los Cielos was a blockbuster, helping KVEA close out June as the most-watched local station in the market, in any language, at 10 p.m. on weeknights among adults aged 18-49.
KVEA’s wake-up newscast, Noticiero Telemundo 52 a las 6, also scored strong ratings for Telemundo, ranking above Univision’s KMEX among 18-to-34-year-olds.
“Telemundo’s commitment to delivering best-in-class entertainment and programming is providing us with a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow our audience and market share,” KVEA president and GM Celia Chavez said. “We are honored that our viewers are choosing Telemundo 52 to get the local news, entertainment and information they need.”