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Telemundo Turns Its Lenses on ‘Celia’

If preliminary expectations and PR hype are accurate gauges of how a new addition to the fall primetime lineup will fare with viewers, Telemundo executives today are likely shouting “¡azuuuuuucar!”

That’s the sugar-filled Spanish-language shout that helped cement Celia Cruz as the global “Queen of Salsa.” Celia, the new telenovela adaptation of the salsa icon’s life, is expected to be the network’s queen of the 8 p.m. timeslot.

Celia is a first for Spanish-language broadcast television, as it borrows from the success of English-language primetime series Empire and Glee by injecting musical performances into the storyline.

Portraying Cruz in her younger years (in her acting debut) is Jeimy Osorio; Aymee Nuviola has been cast as the older Cruz. A contemporary salsa music star, La India, is contributing to the show’s soundtrack.

Meanwhile, in a first for Telemundo, the first three episodes of Celia were made available via video-on-demand ahead of the network premiere. Celia is a Fox Telecolombia production.

To help promote Celia, a special tribute to Celia Cruz was incorporated into the inaugural Latin American Music Awards, which aired as a live telecast Oct. 8 on Telemundo as its proprietary answer to rival Univision’s long-running Premio lo Nuestro a la Música Latina. The segment featured Osorio alongside co-star Modesto Lacen, with a medley of the songstress’ greatest hits performed by Nuviola and La India.

The Latin American Music Awards mirrors the long-running American Music Awards and is also produced by Dick Clark Productions.