May is my favorite month of the year, and not only because it is my birthday, and spring is blooming and all that crap. It is because in addition to the very serious journalistic work I do everyday, I get to attend some of the presentations, parties and after-parties around the so-called Hispanic TV upfronts.
My favorite part, of course, is trying to cover the not-so-serious side of the three-day-marathon of parties, parties and programming presentations, interviews and business meetings.
Here are some highlights of this year’s Hispanic TV upfronts, which have left this blogger (and her liver) particularly damaged.
CNN en Español: Eñes, Eñes Everywhere!
* Hispanic TV Upfront week officially kicked off with a small, but lively party in New York City hosted by CNN en Español, which insists on putting an eñe on its logo, even though it looks silly and makes no sense whatsoever. This time around, though, the “eñe-offender” made its way to pillows, cookies and chocolates, because why have pass the opportunity to amplify the silliness?
Personally, the highlight of this year’s CÑÑ’s presentation was non other than Jeff Zucker, the mero merojefe of CNN (sans eñe,) who kicked off the event by addressing the audience in a moderately good Spanish.
Needless to say, this blogger did her best to run after him as soon as he stepped off the thing and tried to ask him who had coached him in the language of Cervantes. Alas, I have to report Mr. Zucker runs way faster than me!
Unlike previous years, Telemundo did not host its own upfront presentation, but was a small part of a much bigger event by parent company NBCU at Radio City Hall. But in an effort to make it up to the many people it didn’t invite to Radio City Hall (ahem, ahem, self,) it treated hundreds of advertising executives, media — and me, of course — to a lavish party Monday night featuring Enrique Iglesias (also known as The-Singer-That-Makes-This-Blogger-Feel-Like-a-Cougar.)
As usual, right before the event I was able to squeeze past security and reach the so-called VIP area of the Hammerstein Ballroom, where I spotted my friend José Díaz Balart chatting with former Univision star Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco) who is making a TV comeback on Telemundo — for some reason.
It is important to note there was some kind of “wall” between me and the celebrities, but nothing a crafty Mexican couldn’t get through.
Univision’s ‘Proof of Passion’
Univision’s theme for its 2017 Upfront presentation was “Proof of Passion,” a celebration of the things that Hispanics are so passionate about, namely soccer, family and dancing! Yes, there was the usual stuff about how much my people (i.e. The Hispanics) love soccer, their family and all that jazz. But there were also some fun jabs at Telemundo’s own theme, SHIFT, which Univision simply dismissed as just “a crock of shift.”
“We’ve heard how there’s some kind of shift happening,” said Steve Mandala, Univision’s executive vicepresident of ad sales. “That is a crock of shift.”
Univision’s presentation closed with Shakira performing two songs. TWO SONGS, after which she just simply wished us all well and walked away.
Oh and did I mention how RUDE and awful it was for Univision to forgo its lavish luncheon that had become a legend in town? Come on, Randy Falco, that luncheon was literally the only thing that made this blogger get her Latina butt moving and stand the horrors of Times Square.
Are you telling me Univision finances are so bad that you couldn’t afford the spiced pollo of last year? SAD!
This year, the party took place at ESPACE NY, and – unlike previous years – it was much smaller, and the room looked kind of empty at times. On the bright side, it was easier to harass famous, beautiful Latin people and refill my champagne glass way faster than in years before.
Other than me, other beautiful people who showed up included.
María Elena Salinas, looking sharp as ever and drinking tons of water (which is what I should have done)
Thalía, who received an special award for being the Latina that has been featuring more times in the special Bellos issue….
David Chocarro, who was seen posing near some skincare products, but could have used a comb instead…
… and Lili Estefan, Raúl de Molina, Geraldine Bazán, Gabriel Soto and many, many more famous Latinos whose name I couldn’t really catch after all those liters of … Seltzer water.
Anyhow, everything ended up smoothly and this blogger was able to go back home in one piece, blessed by a beautiful Manhattan night.
Barely five months after Donald Trump announced he was dumping Telemundo to join forces with Univision for the Miss Universe pageant, the Hispanic media giant decided it was just too much to partner with such a bocón.
According to a statement put out by Univision Communications Inc. on Thursday:
Today, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants. At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.
Religious broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network on June will launch an English-language channel targeting what it called “next-generation” Latinos, which apparently are religious, prefer to speak English and — of course — love to dance and eat salsa.
TBN Salsa is ‘geared toward next generation Hispanics who may not be fluent in Spanish. […] It will initially debut in 38 major broadcast markets across America, including Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, and Phoenix.
And that’s just awesome because everybody knows that Hispanics, regardless their religion and language preference, simply love salsa: This one… and this one too!
Latina, Rica, Famosa is Estrella TV’s answer to the Real Housewives franchise, except this new reality show features five “beautiful, successful Latinas that invite you all the way to their living room -and bedroom- to see what they are really made of.”
I must confess I have not seen this thing, but judging from the promo -below- and other Spanish-language TV spinoffs out there, including this and this, I think I will pass.
There’s already too much desperation in my own, real, Latin life…
Earlier today, a couple of friends forwarded me a press release put out by Dallas-based Pizza Patrón pizza chain and urged me to do -or rather, write- something about it. The headline was attractive enough for me to pay attention:
At the heart of the matter was the refusal of “a number” of Spanish-language radio stations to air an upcoming radio spot for Pizza Patron’s new jalapeño-stuffed pizza. The reason? The name of such pizza, “La chingona” apparently does not sit well among executives at the radio stations and is considered un-apt for the good ol’ Latino family.
My immediate reaction was: Really?!?… Actually, that’s not accurate: My immediate reaction was: ¡No chinguen!
As a native of Mexico City, I grew up listening -and learning to master- all forms and variations of the noun chingada and the verb chingar. See? Growing up in Mexico, you don’t say “Damn it!” when things don’t go according to plan, you say Me lleva la chingada. Same when someone is getting on your case, you don’t ask him/her to bugger off, but instead say Chinga tu madre. When you are supremely awesome and superior (i.e. like yours truly) you simply say Soy muy chingona… etc. etc. The concept is so wonderfully rich, that even Octavio Paz wrote an entire essay about la chingada: Los hijos de la Malinche.
But I digress… According to the aforementioned press release, Pizza Patrón was informed that its new ad campaign “would not be permitted to air on a number of major radio networks,” because the word chingona is considered a profanity and presumably would offend the Great Catholic -and Well-Behaved- Latino Family in America.
Readers of my blog know I’m not fast-food’s best friend. In fact, I live a somehow happy life free of frito-stuffed sandwiches or jalapeño-stuffed pizzas. But to cry “profanity” for using a harmless, beautiful word like chingona in an ad campaign to tout a “chingona pizza” just makes me want to scream:
In the latest example that Hispanic-targeted marketing knows no limits, Subway Restaurants this week announced a partnership with Univision to “seamlessly integrate Subway products and restaurants into Televisa’s hit telenovela Qué pobres tan ricos (Poor, But Rich).
The first integration, say the partners, will show one of the characters surprising another with a Subway $5 Footlong.
Per a joint Univision-Subway press release:
“This integration allows us to reach Hispanic audiences in an engaging and authentic way,” says Gabriela Mangieri Harper, multicultural marketing manager at Subway.
U.S.-born Latinos who prefer to speak English -and pretty much suck at writing in any language- can’t get enough novelty on television this 2013. First came Fusion, with its easy-to-understand English-language news shows. And now, comes El Rey Network, a new English-language cable network created by director Robert Rodriguez and backed by Comcast and -who else?- Univision.
Scheduled to launch later this month, El Rey Network was introduced in May by Univision CEO Randy Falco as part of Univision’s “firm commitment to providing Latinos with the best in-culture programming available.”
And what could be more “in-culture” than an Untitled Latin James Bond?
I’m telling you, I can’t wait for a hot, brawny mustachioed Latin man asking for his margarita, shaken, not steeeeerd.
There’s also tons of action: Mass shootings, burning cars and even a exploding brassiere or two. Take a look:
I’m not a fan of Wendy’s burgers, much less those made with Pretzel bread. But I have to give it to the fast food company, and it’s Hispanic advertising agency Bravo for the below commercial, which by the way is running on both, Hispanic -and non-Hispanic- TV networks.
The commercial belongs to the “Mucho Mejor campaign” featuring a Hispanic family, the Rojos, who embrace both American culture and their Hispanic roots. The Rojo family comprises a bilingual mom and dad with three children ranging from 7 to 16 years-old. Teenage daughter Roselin also dates Dylan, her teenage “mainstream” boyfriend.
It’s amazing what a television outlet would do to beat its competitors. Take Telemundo Puerto Rico’s Dando Candela, which earlier this week (June 13) promised viewers an ¡exclusive! ¡amazing! ¡historic! interview by reporter Yulianna Vargas with Kobbo Santarrosa, the TV personality being sued by WAPA-TV for breach of contract.
Turns out such “exclusive” interview was nothing but a rehashed audio from an interview by the same reporter that aired in October 26, 2012, about yet another court battle involving Santarrosa.
Watch the hosts of Dando Candela hype up the interview as if it were ‘news.’
Her response?…. It’s even more embarrassing than the snafu itself.
“We understood, as news producers, that it was pertinent to offer the story to our viewers. Our commitment is to entertain and look for information to give our audience with the greatest respect that characterizes us.”
According to press reports, the show’s creator -and director- has promised “no gardeners, no gangs, no maids,” but apparently tons of cute kids confronting each other for the love of their very young lives while wearing prom king and queen costumes.
Watch here and judge for yourselves. Will you be watching?
This is exhausting! In addition to covering this week’s Hispanic TV Upfronts for these guys and these guys, I had to save some juicy details for the not-so-serious side of the 3-day-marathon of parties, parties and parties, programming presentations, interviews and business meetings.
* Hispanic TV Upfront week started May 13 with two networks, Azteca America and Estrella TV, holding “intimate dinners” at the exact same time in two very distant places, presumably to keep me from attending either. But, as you all know by now, I’m a sneaky Mexican and managed to attend both.
* Estrella TV brought to dinner at Tao Restaurant its most recent acquisition, Myrka Dellanos, who looked amazing and who is now going to be news anchoring instead of selling toothpaste.
* As it has been the case before, I crashed the People en Español party at Marquee, which was OK, but not nearly as as glamorous and/or fun as previous years. However, beggars can’t be chosers, so I shut up now. Besides, I must continue to be nice to them, especially to Elvis Lizardo, who famously calls me “The Mexican glue that keep us all together.”
* After surveilling the venue for some famous bellos, I realized celebrities are not the only beautiful bunch, so I proceded to propose People en Español Editor ArmandoCorrea a co-production of “Los 50 ejecutivos más bellos del mercado latino,” a list that would be curated by @miblogestublog -of course, and published and promoted by Time Inc. or someone with that kind of money. I’m thinking MundoFox’ Hernán López should go on the cover, while Telemundo’s Peter Blacker will take the back cover, though I’m still not sure. Other execs being considered: Mundo Fox’ Oswald Mendez, Telemundo’s Emilio Romano and Fusion’s Miguel Ferrer. [This blog is accepting submissions now.]
* Tuesday events kicked off at 11:00 am at The New Amsterdam Theatre, where Univision held a lavish presentation for over 1,600 guests.
* Pretty much all those 1,600 guests then walked or took buses to Univision’s after party, which took place at ESPACE, where there was not a lot of “espace” nor food to feed all those hungry mouths. At some point, many attendees grew restless and angry as waiter after waiter kept passing in front of us with trays full of food, but destined to “VIP’s only.” That didn’t stop me, however, so I quickly managed to get a hold of a VERY VIP name tag (above) in order to secure some mini-burgers.
* The stunt didn’t work and I had to settle for a peanut butter cookie that surely contained about 5,325 calories.
* Since it secured me no food whatsoever, my Randy Falco name tag made a second appearance later that night at the Telemundo upfront in Lincoln Center, where it was not as well received as I had imagined. I still wore it to go say ‘hi’ to NBCU’s Chairman of Hispanic Ventures Joe Uva, who requested my immediate removal from the premises. [I stayed.]
* The marathon continued Wednesday with a noon presentation by Fox Hispanic Media at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. The presentation included FHM’s four networks: Fox Deportes, Fox Life, Nat Geo Mundo and Mundo Fox. It attracted some big talent, including Bárbara Mori, Marlon Moreno, Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya, who came onstage not wearing fishnet stockings but a pair of cowboy boots.
* After a presentation that seemed to last hours, most of us headed East towards Vme’s upfront at the Instituto Cervantes. Under new management, Vme hosted a small, intimate, sit-down presentation in a dark basement with no cellular signal whatsoever, making it the perfect setting for a much needed afternoon nap. (I caught several executives and members of the media happily snoring away, but I decided not to publish their names, mostly because it wouldn’t be fair and because I was also fast asleep.)
* The marathon ended Wednesday night with a much-needed, circus-themed party hosted by Viacom’s Tr3s and headlined by Daddy Yankee, who made even the most stiff media executive shake his/her hips. EXTRA BONUS POINT for Tr3s, which spared us the power points and the data on Hispanic TV audience growth, etc. etc. etc.
Yet, my favorite moment this week came at the Tr3s party when I was able to capture the following shot, featuring the great Eduardo Caballero, the father, grandfather, godfather of Hispanic media, and Ari Madrid, probably the craziest -and smartest- millennial I’ve ever met and one of the youngest entrants to this business.
Caballero changed the media world once. Ari will change it forever.
Then came Telemundo’s own remake of the series, which was slightly changed to Sin senos no hay paraíso (substituting the word ‘tetas’ with the boring, yet anatomically correct senos (breasts.)
But that was then.
Last week UniMás proudly announced the upcoming premiere of Sin ellas no hay paraíso… and yes, it is the exact same telenovela, except this time the offending moniker (tetas) has being awkwardlysubstituted by the word ellas (them.)
I said it then, and I repeat it today: When it comes to Hispanic television, one thing is to show tetas feminine attributes all day long, and another one is to call those attributes by their rightful name.
mun2 on Tuesday unveiled its 2013-2014 programming line up at a morning press conference in Manhattan. And just to make sure this blogger would get out of bed so early in the morning, it brought in tacos and the taqueros who make them.
The event, which featured appearances by Larry Hernández and the Horóscopos de Durango, included an early morning pachanga that included tacos, champagne and coffee inexplicably served in a burro-themed cup.
The real party is tonight, so I will let you know if they ended up bringing out the strongest beverages and if they were still served on burro-themed cups.
One of the casualties of Univision’s latest round of layoffs was Despierta América’s host Fernando Arau, who used his own morning show on Monday to say good-bye after 12 years of annoying entertaining Latinos on TV.
For the occasion, the pink-slipped Arau was treated by his co-hosts and family members with a real Mariachi band singing El Rey.
Ahhh…. if only everybody could be fired that way….