Eight years after the debut of La Reina del Sur, Kate del Castillo (Teresa Mendoza) is back as a badass mexicana as La Reina del Sur Season 2 premieres April 22 on Telemundo.
La Reina del Sur Season 2 is set eight years after Mendoza disappeared into the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program for bringing down a Mexican presidential candidate. Now, she is coming out of anonymity and is determined to reclaim her throne as the Queen of the South –while whacking a few bad hombres in the process.
The controversial Del Castillo became world famous not precisely because of La Reina del Sur but because of her secret meeting with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and the now infamous Sean Penn journalistic brouhaha.
WATCH as this Mexican sorts out all kinds of shit in order to get ahead of her game.
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.
Chances are you are too preoccupied with this insane election, but I think you should know that the all-too-non-Hispanic-famous TV personality Jimmy Fallon last night welcomed the super-famous, not-retired-yet-again Don Francisco to sing a duet in front of a live audience and on national television.
Per a press release quoting the great Cristina Schwarz (a personal friend, mind you)…
“On the evening of Sunday, April 26, viewers from all across the New York Tri-State area will be able to look up to the beacon of our skyline as it beams in red, in honor of our station’s past and the promise of our future as we reaffirm our commitment to be the first informers our communities demand and deserve.”
I don’t know you, but as a proud Hispanic, I’ll be anxiously waiting for the red lights to go up and then tune in my TV set to … Mad Men.*
*It’s nothing against Telemundo, really. I just need to know what’s going to happen with Don Draper’s sombrero,
Miss Universe, that annual parade of young, pretty -and pretty shallow- women, which for some reason continues to be very popular, took place last night in Florida, making some ratings history for NBC and it’s Spanish-language network Telemundo, which aired the pageant in English and Spanish, respectively.
While NBC reported the 63rd Annual Miss Universe averaged 7.6 million viewers over three hours, Telemundo said 4.7 million people tuned in to watch the broadcast in Spanish.
Both figures are indeed impressive, but easy to understand when you consider how much sexier the whole thing is on television than watching it live from a local university in Florida –which by the way might be the closest any of these señoritas will ever get to a higher education institution.
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:
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.”
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.
This blogger is so tired from all this partying busy this week, that a proper upfront round-up will not come until the weekend (sit tight.) However, I thought you’d like to know that barely minutes after Univision wrapped its upfront presentation under the theme “One for all,” NBCU found it amusing to park a van right outside Univision’s party venue using the exact same tagline but touting NBCU, not Univision, as the company that reaches 90% of all Hispanics.
NBCU does indeed reach a large percentage of Hispanics as it owns not only a bunch of English-language networks that are popular among Latinos, but also mun2 and Telemundo.
The stunt was the most talked about subject during both, Univision’s and Telemundo’s parties, during which this blogger drank only cranberry juice and an occasional glass of water.
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.
Hispanic TV upfront week is a wonderful thing, especially when you get the chance to hear all kinds of wonderful pitches by competing networks.
Tuesday morning, for example, I learned from Univision’s President César Conde that Televisa is actually the Hollywood of Hispanics, which was, like, ‘oh, how cool,’ or whatever … Yet, barely five hours later, in another theatre not far from there, Telemundo’s COO Jacqueline Hernández came onstage to give us this…
WTH? I mean, it’s OK to treat journalists with bellinis for breakfast and non-stop bashes for four days straight, but please don’t confuse us even more with these stunts. I yet have to figure out which the real “Hispanic Hollywood” really is, but I have a very stubborn resaca to take care of first.
So please bear with me, and I promise to find an answer for you real soon… or not.
I though this was going to be yet another bleak week, but then I remembered Telemundo’s Una Maid en Manhattan premieres tonight (8:00 PM/ET) on the Telemundo channel.
In a nutshell, this is the story of a terribly-good-looking hotel maid (Litzy) who moves to the U.S. with her little son, gets a job at a swanky hotel and meets a dashing hunk (Eugenio Siller) which confuses her for one of the rich hotel guests… because, as we all know not all maids look like Nafissatou Diallo, nor all hotel guests are as disgusting and horny as Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
This is a maid-to-order feel good story and very likely great fodder for Mi blog es tu blog.
So stay tuned. I will keep you people posted on this impossibly-realistic love story.
OK this is one of those situations in which you had to be there to enjoy the moment… Fortunately for you, readers, I was there, when Cristina Saralegui took to the state at the Telemundo upfront this week in Manhattan to bitch about Univision for quite some time and then profusely thank Don Johnson for giving her the opportunity to host a new show on Telemundo.
“The tiny terror is back,” Cristina told a crowd of 1,200 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City Tuesday night. “Thank you, Don Johnson, for the opportunity.”
I want to believe Mrs. Saralegui meant to say Don Browne, as in the president of Telemundo… but who knows?
I’ll never be able to fully understand these Miami people.
For a television network that is great at doing away with stereotypes, why not treat your guests to something less picante? How about a nice little bottle of Dom Perignon or a couple cans of fine Beluga?
I mean, I’m just sayin’ … Though you don’t have to listen to me as I’m no YLA…