Univision Communications is stepping up its original production game.
The Spanish-language media leader in the U.S. will vastly expand its production capabilities with the launch of Univision Studios in Miami, where Luis Fernandez will guide the push as president.
Fernandez, a 30-year industry veteran, joins from Corporación Radio Televisión Española, the largest and leading broadcasting company in Spain. As president of Corporación RTVE, Fernandez -- who will report directly to new Univision Networks president Cesar Conde -- helmed the network from third place to being the most-watched channel in Spain. Fernandez's resume also includes an entry as managing director of production company Promofilm U.S. He's also known in the U.S. as the executive producer of Univision's first primetime fiction series, Al Filo de la Ley.
The hiring of Fernandez and the commitment to Univision Studios are the first major moves by Conde, as the new division will produce and co-produce telenovelas, reality shows, dramas, entertainment specials and other programming formats for Univision, broadcast brethren TeleFutura and cable cousin Galavisión, as well as Univision.com and Univision Móvil.
The gambit also follows the Jan. 2009 settlement of a lawsuit brought by Grupo Televisa, Unvision's primary program supplier, over royalties underpayment.
It also trails the U.S. production started by competitor Telemundo earlier this decade. The NBC Universal-owned by Spanish-language broadcaster began production on its own novellas in 2003, with Amor Descardo. Telemundo Television Studios has facilities in Miami, Colombia and Los Angeles and currently produces more than 1,000 hours of programming annually, a total it claims ranks second only to Televisa.
"The creation of Univision Studios is a transformational step in the development and growth of our company and an important, natural extension of our business," said Joe Uva, president and CEO, Univision Communications Inc, in a statement."We have an unprecedented opportunity to expand our offering of quality Spanish-language programming to our loyal audiences not only through our existing programming partners but by building on our established multi-genre production track record to create more original productions and co-productions."
Noted Conde: "We are thrilled to have been able to attract such a talent as Luis Fernandez, who is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished production executives of Spanish-language media in the U.S. and across the globe. Luis' proven track record combined with his impeccable reputation and strong industry relationships will be instrumental as we take this next step to expand our abilities to deliver the best programming to our audiences. With his impressive credentials and Univision's unique understanding of and deep connection to Hispanic audiences, our new studio division will make Univision an even more significant force in the development of Spanish-language content in the U.S."