Telemundo Connects With English-Only Speakers

I was pleased to hear Telemundo announce at its upfront presentation to the press yesterday that it will begin streaming its trademark breathless novelas on the web with English subtitles.

Telemundo says they’ll start rolling the feature out in the summer, and complete it by fall. The network also announced a high-def broadband video player that represents a partnership with MSN.

It’s always been difficult for me to get a real feel for Telemundo programming as I, like so many Americans, am woefully monolingual. Watching Spanish-language programming always reminds me of the time I was working in a vineyard near the France-Germany border oh, almost two decades ago. Us grape-pickers were living in a barn. There was a pretty girl from Poland in our “vendange” crew who didn’t speak a word of English. We’d stare at each other and try to communicate in our native languages, and in sloppy school French, and with awkward hand gestures, but never really came close to understanding each other.

That’s how it’s been for me and Telemundo: I’m interested in what the programming has to offer–c’mon, there’s a show called Sin Tetas No Hay Praiso (Without Breasts There Is No Paradise)–but only got the visual aspect of the programming, not the language.

Here’s what Telemundo is debuting this coming season, starting with the Grey’s Anatomy remake this Monday at 7 p.m.

The rookie programs include El Fantasma de Elena, a dark drama about a woman haunted by the ghost of her husband’s dead wife; Casanova Sin Amor, a romantic novela about a network president and his courtship of a poor young actress; A Corazon Abierto, a Grey’s Anatomy-based hospital drama about a cadre of attractive young surgeons in Texas; and La Reina del Sur, a Kate del Castillo-starring crime drama centered on a sexy female drug trafficker.

Yesterday’s sizzle reel pushed all the buttons: Pistols packed in purses, shirtless men on horses, bodices being ripped, sultry ghosts living in castles.

Finally, I’ll be able to understand what they’re saying.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.