Upfronts 2009: V-me Mixes In Short-, Long-Form Fare

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Complete Upfronts 2009 coverage from Multichannel News

Two-year-old V-me unveiled a diverse slate of programming additions to its schedule during its upfront presentation to advertisers.

Executives at the service said it's on track to reach 80% of Hispanic households by year's end through a combination of cable, satellite and over-the-air carriage.
"V-me has aimed to become the fastest-growing network in Spanish TV history," said president and CEO Carmen DiRienzo. "We have kept this promise and more. Our stations and distribution partners recognize the important role that V-me plays in the Latino community and have worked with us to build a solid national platform making V-me one of America's biggest Spanish broadcasters."
Favoring a multiplatform approach, V-me delivers creative solutions for more than 30 clients. From entitlements, short-form programming, special in-program features and integration, to mobile and online engagement, the network said it's working with agencies and more than 30 clients to develop innovative three-screen executions.
"V-me does not follow a cookie-cutter approach to working with clients," said senior vice president and director of sales Frank Donaldson. "Working in collaboration with clients and agencies, our sales team is able to develop multimedia programs that deliver value and directly target Latino consumers across all our media platforms."
On the programming side, V-me, which held its upfront presentation May 20 at New York City's Samsung Experience, talked up shows that cut across genres and formats.
Las Aventuras de Eebee is a short-form series hosted by Latina superstar --and new mother -- Thalia, in vignettes that help parents of kids six months and up transform everyday moments into learning that lasts.
From short to long-form, V-me will present the world Hispanic premiere of Carrier, a 10-hour, docu-reality series from executive producer Mel Gibson that takes viewers aboard the USS Nimitz during its wartime deployment in the Persian Gulf.
The network will continue with La Hora El Gourmet.com, the on-air and online cooking block that features tips and techniques from top Latin chefs.
With Cronicas Salvajes (Wild Chronicles), explorers and scientists trek the natural world to solve its mysteries and cry out for its protection. Moreover, this year viewers can compete for a chance to be V-me's host in the Spanish-language version of the acclaimed National Geographic series.
As for music, the network will return Estudio Billboard, its interview program produced with Billboard Magazine, whose Leila Cobo talks with top Latin artists about their life art and share performances.
During Hispanic Heritage Month in October, V-me will team with PBS on Musica Latina USA, a pair of two-hour specials featuring profiles and performances from Salsa legends Willie Colón and Marc Anthony, and Latin-flavored rock from Motown to the Rolling Stones. Among the others in the specials' spotlight: Flaco Jiménez, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Gloria and Emilio Estefan; Juanes, Miami rapper Pitbull, Reggaeton's Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón, and Lin-Manuel Miranda of the Tony-winning "In the Heights."

The channel is owned by V-me Media, Inc., a partnership of New York City PBS member station WNET, and private investors.