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Galavisins New Shows Join Youth Movement

Hispanic cable network Galavisión will add six new U.S.-produced series to its lineup, including two children's shows and a Latin Martha Stewart-type lifestyle program.

The Spanish-language service-which will also bolster its sports offerings-unveiled its 2000-2001 program schedule at upfront presentations in Dallas and Miami last week. The week prior, the network showed media buyers in New York and Miami its plans.

With its new programming, Galavisión is trying to build on its past success with three different audience segments-kids, Hispanic males and bicultural youths-according to general manger Lucia Ballas-Traynor.

Galavisión's new American-produced original adult series for the fall season are Con Cierta Intimidad, a weekly one-hour musical showcase; VideoMix con Mike Robles, a music-video countdown show hosted by the stand-up comedian; GalaScene, a half-hour bilingual magazine show; and En Casa de Lucy, a morning how-to show.

Galavisión now has two primetime bicultural blocks, on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Con Cierta Intimidad, which was compared with MTV: Music Television's Unplugged series, will kick off Galavisión's Wednesday primetime bicultural block at 7 p.m. The show is taped in a small studio with a live audience.

Con Cierta Intimidad is followed at 8 p.m. by VideoMix con Mike Robles, which includes music videos ranging from Billboard's "Top 40 Hot Latin Tracks" to hip-hop and alternative music. The show will be shot in locations throughout the country's top Hispanic cities, from South Beach in Miami to Times Square in New York.

The Wednesday-night block is capped off by Que Locos!, a weekly bilingual stand-up show returning at 9 p.m. The program has resumed production from New York's Comic Strip and the Pasadena, Calif.-based Ice House. Que Locos! is produced by Robles.

On Thursday nights, the new magazine show GalaScene, targeting young urban Latinos, opens the bicultural block at 7 p.m. The show is conducted in both Spanish and English, depending on the language choice of the guest being interviewed.

During the past year, Galavisión has dropped more than 450 hours of older-skewing programming, replacing them with shows with more youth appeal-fare such as Que Locos!.

Part of Galavisión's programming strategy has been to attract Hispanic youths who are largely assimilated and watch a lot of mainstream television, Ballas-Traynor said. They haven't typically watched a lot of Spanish-language TV, but they also don't see their lives reflected in English-language TV, she said.

"It's an audience between two worlds," she added.

Galavisión, which is owned by Univision Communications Inc., has also launched a morning weekday show, En Casa de Lucy, hosted by Hispanic television personality Lucy Pereda. She offers viewers segments on decorating, gardening, flower arrangements, cooking, entertaining and sewing.

"There is nothing out there like this for Latinas," Ballas-Traynor said. "It's a Martha Stewart-type show."

En Casa de Lucy airs Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. as part of Galavisión's empowering program block for women.

Galavisión has a second informational, inspirational show for women in the works, which it plans to pair with En Casa de Lucy. Both programs offer counterprogramming to the novelas and talk shows that other Spanish-language networks air during the day, Ballas-Traynor said.

Galavisión has been able to attract Hispanic kids to its "Galamiquitos" children's block, and the network now has two shows in the works for that offering.

The first new original show, En La Granga, is an educational series about life on a farm that will incorporate live animals and have an online component, as well. The show is aimed at children aged two through 11, as kids at both ends of that age spectrum can relate to and learn from live animals, as opposed to animation, Ballas-Traynor said.

The second kids' show is Coco Carnaval, a game show hosted by Coco the Clown. It is billed as being similar to Nickelodeon's Double Dare, but with a Latin flavor.

As part of its plans, network officials said that this October, Galavisión will air a one-hour Miami-based sports-news show, Contacto Deportivo, Sunday through Friday at 11 p.m. Ballas-Traynor said the show's format will be similar to ESPN's SportsCenter, but will focus on sports topics of interest to Latinos.

Galavisión has also acquired more sports programming, and it now has rights to six new soccer properties.

The network reaches 18.3 million subscribers, including 3.1 million Hispanic homes. But it expects to reach more than 22 million subscribers by year's end with launches in San Diego as well as Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., according to Ballas-Traynor.