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Univision's News-y Focus

Gratuitous giant J Lo photo here

Univision presents its upfront slate this afternoon in Manhattan, but an early peek at its new offerings reveals a fairly strong commitment to news. Next season, Univision is debuting the morning program Hoy, which comes from Televisa, is 90 minutes and will air at 10:30 ET.

Hoy of course is Spanish for Today, which seems like a pretty good name for a morning show.Hoy follows Despierta America to create a five hour morning block.  Univision describes it as “practical tips on everything from cooking to home projects, health and news segments, a daily horoscope, special guests and more, will all be packed into one-and-a-half hours of pure entertainment.”Univision is also premiering a pair of primetime documentaries under the title Univision Documentales. Two on the sked for next season focus on Colombian police who infiltrated the paramilitary organization FARC, and one on the “disproportionate Latino dropout rates” in American schools.The Spanish-language giant says it will air two doc specials a year.

Univision didn’t say anything about local news, but the upfront probably isn’t the place for that.Univision’s local media president Peter Walker did tell us earlier this month that the broadcaster, after launching morning news in Houston and Dallas and late news in Atlanta, has further plans to expand its local offerings.

“Local is extremely important,” he said. “News is [one] of our most prominent local components, so we take it very seriously and look to continue to expand it. We’re pretty well-penetrated in early and late news across our group. Where we still have room for growth is morning news, and we intend to grow that in the years ahead.”

It’s easy to get jaded about the song and dance the networks put forth during upfront week, but Univision always seems to come up with a good talent surprise at the end of its presentation; I remember seeing J Lo/Mark Anthony and Ricky Martin in recent years.

Walker wasn’t giving up the ghost when we spoke.

“Not only am I bound to secrecy,” he told me, “but they haven’t told me either because I might actually tell somebody.”