LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: Telemundo Unveils New Lineup

NBC Universal-owned Telemundo has partnered with Brazil’s TV powerhouse Globo to co-produce a remake of El clon (The Clone), the successful Brazilian telenovela, which aired on the Telemundo network in 2002.

The new version of ‘El clon,’ which was originally produced in Portuguese and dubbed into Spanish for Telemundo, though, will now be done entirely in Spanish and has been customized for the U.S. Hispanic audience.

“This agreement is the beginning of a new partnership between the two global content providers,” said Telemundo president Don Browne during a news conference Monday morning to present the network’s 2008-2009 lineup.

“It’s a big challenge. It’s like doing a remake of Ben Hur… without Charlton Heston,” added Patricio Wills, president of Telemundo Studios, who was also at hand to answer questions along other top Telemundo executives.

Unlike previous years, Telemundo and sister cable network, the youth-targeted, mun2 are not holding traditional upfront presentations this year. Instead, they will be part of parent NBC Universal’s special event to be held later today at Rockefeller Center, during which the programmer’s Experience is expected to showcase its full TV and digital properties.

Returning from several weeks of client confabs throughout the country was Mike Rodríguez, senior vice president of network sales and marketing, who announced a series of “very satisfactory” meetings, though declined to give specifics because negotiations are still underway. He said, however, that Telemundo will focus on the creation of custom marketing and advertising solutions for its partners and clients, providing them with programs to maximize their return on investment.

On the programming side, Telemundo touted the upcoming “Sin tetas no hay paraíso,”(Without Breasts, There is No Paradise) a telenovela based on the best-selling novel by Colombian journalist Gustavo Bolívar, which takes on the controversial issue of plastic surgery among women. 

“Sin tetas” is of particular importance to Telemundo, as parent NBC is currently developing its own adaptation in English-language."

"NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio co-chariman Ben [Silverman] is very enthusiastic about [this project]. NBC will be watching very closely as they do their own adaptation,” said Browne.

“Sin Tetas” is also being pitched as a telenovela with plenty of product integration opportunities, as it has a lot of use of cellphones and automobiles, which can be quickly turned into an opportunity for marketers, according to Rodríguez.

Other telenovelas set to debut on the Telemundo network include: Lola Calamidades (Calamity Lola),El juramento (Secret Lies), Amor de madre (A Mother’s Love) and Por qué diablos? (Why the Devil…?)

Jacqueline Hernández, the newly appointed COO of Telemundo, announced the launch of  Mujer de Hoy… Hazte Valer, a multiplatform campaign focused on issues that affect Latino women in the U.S., in partnership with MANA and Hollywood, Health and Society.

Hernández, the former publisher of People en Español, also presented Telemundo’s Concept Integration Model, created to explore ways to integrate brands into its programming across all platforms.

For its part, mun2 announced new original programs in the reality, quiz show and comedy genres, as well as serialized short formats (mun2 minis), in line with the network’s strategy to target a younger demo.

Such new shows include You Said What?, a half-hour competition engaging viewers on TV, online and via their mobile devices. The bilingual youth network is also set to re-launch its Web site, holamun2.com, to include new technologies that will enable users to interact with each other in a social network environment.