Upfronts 2011: Univision Highlights Love Story With Televisa

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Univision Communications Inc. wrapped up Hispanic upfront week with a full-house presentation at the New Amsterdam theatre in the heart of Times Square Thursday afternoon.

Hosted by Mexican telenovela actress and pop singer Lucero, the show kicked off by thanking some VIG's (Very Important Gente), including Haim Saban, of the Saban Capital Group, which partly owns Univision, and Randy Falco, the company's COO, who has been in the job less than a year.

Univision Networks president Cesar Conde on stage.

"This is big and nothing is bigger than the close relationship between Univision and Televisa," Lucero said. To prove her point, she introduced a parody telenovela called Unidos Para Siempre (United Forever) featuring heartthrob William Levy, a popular Televisa actor, as the Siamese brother of David Lawenda, Univision's president of advertising sales and marketing. Lawenda and Levy walked onstage pretending to be joined by he hip to the roaring applause of hundreds of attendees.

As expected, the growing relationship with Televisa was an important part of the 47-minute presentation. Among Univision's "new" shows is Televisa's popular Hoy morning show, which will air in the U.S. right after Univision's own morning show Despierta América.

Univision also made official the much talked-about launch of three new networks, dedicated entirely to news, sports and telenovelas, with the latter scheduled to go live in Q3.

Towards the end of the presentation, Univision Networks president César Conde surprised the crowd with a last-minute announcement. "This is so hot off the presses, it didn't even make it to our presentation," Conde said in announcing the upcoming launch of weight loss reality show ¡Sí, Se Puede! It's a Spanish-language version of the famed The Biggest Loser. The weekly show will be a co-production between Biggest Loser creator Dave Broome and Estefan Film and TV Productions. It will begin production in November, Hispanic media mogul Emilio Estefan told Multichannel News.

After the presentation, Univision treated guests to a brief tour of the Times Square area atop of New York City's famed double-decker buses, several of which were hired for the event.

Once the tour was over, attendees were dropped at the Edison Ballroom for a bash where executives from both Univision and Grupo Televisa mingled with some of Univision's top talent including news anchors María Elena Salinas, Jorge Ramos and Ilia Calderón; entertainment host Charytin, long-time host of Sábado Gigante Don Francisco and Cuban actor William Levy.

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