Veteran journalist Maria Elvira Salazar has returned to SBS-owned MegaTV after a three-year absence to helm Mega Noticiero, a newly launched weekday news analysis program.
The twice-daily offering debuted Feb. 15 on the nationally distributed MegaTV at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Unlike the market’s existing Spanish-language news offerings, Mega Noticiero features Salazar as the sole anchor, offering analysis and insight on the day’s top news topics without reporters or a co-anchor.
Miami-based MegaTV’s broadcast-TV affiliates include WSBS in Miami/West Palm Beach, Fla., WTAM in Tampa, Fla., and WATV in Orlando, Fla. It also has multicast carriage in Houston and Puerto Rico, and is available to DirecTV and AT&T U-verse TV subscribers.
According to MegaTV, Mega Noticiero is chiefly designed to lure viewers from WFUN, the independent Spanish-language television station branded as “America TeVe.” WFUN airs traditional newscasts featuring a full staff of journalists, and it competies against Telemundo-owned WSCV and Univision’s WLTV.
Also in the mix is WGEN, the Mundomax affiliate born out of the demise of the MundoFox network in July 2015. At first, the station continued with a traditional 10 p.m. newscast branded as “Noticias 8.” However the station shifted to a roundtable news analysis format under the name Noticias y Más con Ricardo Brown, featuring a format similar to Mega Noticiero.
MegaTV vice president of national television sales Francisco Framil told Hispanic Television Update that Mega Noticiero is a good competitive position, even with multiple Spanish-language news programs already available in the Miami DMA.
“MundoMax canceled their local and national newscasts, and Estrella TV is a non-factor in the Miami market, with low appeal among non-Mexicans,” Framil said. “Univision and Telemundo newscasts are concentrated from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Mega Noticiero will mostly compete directly with America TeVe.”
The presence of the Cuban-American Salazar will help accomplish this, Framil said, as she has the ability to attract first and second-generation Cubans who comprise the majority of America TeVe’s viewership.
“Maria Elvira represents a refreshing alternative to the competition, as we will be reporting headline news plus in-depth interviews within the newscast,” he says. “This makes our newscast unique and different from our competitors.”
Salazar hosted several news analysis programs under a variety of names featuring her first name, Maria Elvira. She is a familiar face to many U.S. Hispanics who grew up watching her as one of the very first national news anchors on SIN, the predecessor network to Univision.
In the 1988, she joined Telemundo, where she stayed until 2002, joining America TeVe for a four-year stint. In June 2006, Salazar took the reins of Maria Elvira Live, which aired weeknights at 8 p.m. on MegaTV until August 2013, when contract negotiations broke down over the presence of popular news analyst Jaime Bayly at 10 p.m. on MegaTV. Salazar departed, joining the short-lived CNN Latino and, after that, independent station WDFL in Miami, branded as “Mira TV.”
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