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Cueing Up Spanish Originals

New York— Following the release of its demographic study — “Moving Forward: Thought Leaders Share Their Views on Issues Facing U.S. Hispanics” — Discovery Networks Hispanic Group will take strides to reach this rapidly growing audience with more than 100 hours of fresh original programming.

Ranging from lifestyle features to cooking series to political documentaries, the shows are slated to debut during the 2007-08 TV season on Discovery en Español.

“Last year, Discovery en Español achieved the highest primetime year-to-year ratings gains of any reported U.S. Hispanic network, with a spectacular 50% increase among the key demo of adults 18 to 49,” said Luis Silberwasser, senior vice president and general manager of Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group, addressing advertisers at the network’s programming showcase here last Wednesday.

That momentum continued this year as the network, which now counts 8.3 million subscribers nationally, rang up 42% and 33% advances among households and the aforementioned demographic in the first quarter.

As for its slate, the network is looking to build on its first original program — last year’s immigration-debate documentary Objetivo: El Norte— with Viviendo en las Sombras, chronicling the life and challenges of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

Also on tap: Mas Que Una Fiesta, showcasing parties and festivals that celebrate Hispanic heritage; and Voces de Cabio, a series on Hispanic artists, including Carlos Santana and Edward James Olmos, and their efforts to give back to their communities.

Among the edgier material coming to the network: Maras Sin Fronteras, a look into modern Maras gangs from El Salvador to Los Angeles; and Collision Over the Amazon, investigating the worst air accident in South American history.

Discovery en Español will also premiere a hypothetical historical program, Proyecto Malvinas, examining what might have happened if Argentina had defeated the United Kingdom in the Falkland Islands War.

On the gastronomic front, the network will serve up Con Gusto Y Sazon, in which host Andrés Garcia examines how U.S. restaurants are transforming Latin dishes, as well as Relatos Con Sabor, in which chef Marcela Valladolid tracks traditional family recipes by visiting Hispanic homes around the country.

Another new original show, Espacio Vital, will chart the latest breakthroughs in beauty treatments.