As Fall Nears, Univision and Telemundo Set Programming Plans

Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo are setting the stage for a power-packed autumn full of new series, highly anticipated specials and primetime telenovelas that could be the next Nielsen ratings leaders.

Univision’s new primetime entries start arriving Aug. 22, when the Netflix-produced Narcos debuts at 10 p.m. The airing of Narcos, along with Netflix-produced serial Club de Cuervos on sister network UniMás, is part of an effort “to introduce new Hispanic viewers to Netflix series,” Univision said.

Narcos could be just the type of series Univision has been seeking to counter Telemundo, which has dominated the 10 p.m. hour in key advertiser demos with its action-fueled “super series.” Even if Narcos is a smash hit, the success will be short-lived.

Narcos will air weeknights at 10 p.m. through Sept. 6, when the Televisa-produced El Color de la Pasion will premiere in that timeslot. The novela, featuring “a strong female lead,” offers viewers a complex tale complete with a missing fiancée who disappears on his wedding day, a sister who joins a convent following his mysterious exit and hidden love.

On Aug. 29 at 8 p.m., Univision will bow telenovela Despertar Contigo, succeding Un Camino Hacia el Destino. Described as a sexy romantic comedy, Despertar Contigo is the story of Pablo, a bodyguard for a wealthy flower-industry mogul, and his romance with the mogul’s daughter. The rags-masquerading-as-riches tale is produced by Pedro Damian for Televisa and stars Daniel Arenas and Ela Velden.

Reality music competition show La Banda returns on Sundays at 8 p.m. starting Sept. 11. Season two will open the competition up to both girls and boys; season one was open just to boys.

Telemundo — Univision's top rival — is celebrating a Nielsens first: For the week of July 18 it ranked No. 1 among Spanish-language networks among adults aged 18-49 and 18-34 in primetime (shows airing between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET). Telemundo also ranked No. 1 among adults aged 18-49 between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET from Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29. Those results were driven largely by three telenovelas that premiered on Telemundo July 19.

In addition to its primetime telenovelas and coverage of the Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the network is prepping for the edition of its own Latin music and entertainment awards show, Premios Tu Mundo.

Telemundo will air the awards ceremony live from AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on August 25 at 8 p.m. (ET). Among the more offbeat award categories are “The Perfect Couple,” “Best Villain,” “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” “Fan Club of the Year” and “Favorite Influencer,” among others. Music categories include nominees in Regional Mexican, Pop, Tropical and Urban genres. The full list of nominees for the fan-voted awards will soon be available at

The network has also started production on its newest telenovela, La Fan, starring veteran telenovela actress Angelica Vale. Filming is underway in Los Angeles and Miami.

Inspired by an original idea by Vale, La Fan tells the story of a happy-go-lucky woman from a poor background who is a passionate fan of a famous telenovela actor. An unexpected twist of fate drives her headlong into his life. The series marks Vale’s return to telenovelas after more than a decade.

In addition to Vale, acclaimed Mexican actress and singer Mariana Seoane has signed an exclusive contract with Telemundo; her first project is the forthcoming “super series” El Chema. Production for the telenovela begins this fall.

Seoane has appeared in such memorable telenovelas as Amor Gitano and La Fea Más Bella. As a recording artist, Seoane has excelled in the grupero genre of Regional Mexican music, with six albums to her name since her 2004 debut release “Sere Una Niña Buena.”

Looking ahead, Telemundo is already working closely with iHeartMedia on the 2016 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, set for Nov. 5 at American Airlines Arena in Miami. The third annual mega-concert includes confirmed performances by Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Nicky Jam, Yandel, Gente de Zona, Intocable, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and Pitbull. The concert will be streamed live over and televised later in November.