Telemundo Turns to Spain for Newsroom Leader

In less than two years as president of Telemundo, Luis Silberwasser has invested heavily in local and national news as the NBCUniversal-owned Hispanic network seeks to finally topple its chief rival, Univision, in both viewership and advertising dollars.

In a January 2015 interview with Multichannel News, Silberwasser said Telemundo had "gone against the stream" by investing in dual anchors, adding 5:30 p.m. weekday newscasts at several owned-and-operated stations and reinvigorating its national weekday-morning program.

Telemundo’s national news team now is getting a new leader, and it has turned to Spain — by way of Beijing — in making its selection.

Luis Fernández, most recently CEO of soccer club Real Madrid for the Asia-Pacific Region, is now Telemundo's executive vice president of network news. A 30-year journalism veteran, he also brings U.S. television experience as a former president of entertainment at Univision, overseeing its studios division. Before moving to the U.S. in 2007, Fernández had a prolific career in Spain, serving as CEO of state-run Radio Television Española (RTVE). He has also been news director at Spain's Canal Plus, at Telecinco and at national radio network Cadena SER.

Fernández reports to Silberwasser and succeeds Luis Carlos Vélez, who was hired for that position in January 2015 after serving as news director and as an anchor for Caracol Television in Colombia.

Vélez will remain with Telemundo as a news anchor and senior correspondent. On March 19, he became the co-anchor for Noticiero Telemundo Fin de Semana, the network's 5 p.m. weekend newscast. Vélez will appear alongside Felicidad Aveleyra and replaces Edgardo del Villar, who will continue as a reporter for the network.

“News plays a central role in terms of how we inform and empower our community,” said Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group.  “Luis Fernández will play a strategic role in leading our network news division at a time when the U.S. Hispanic community is playing an increasingly important role in the transformation of our country.”

Specifically, Fernández will oversee network news operations and manage editorial direction, programming and production of all news properties, including nightly newscast Noticiero Telemundo; the Sunday program Enfoque con Jose Diaz-Balart; the national weekend newscast Noticias Telemundo Fin de Semana; the news content of weekday-morning program Un Nuevo Día; and the network’s daily news magazine program Al Rojo Vivo, hosted by María Celeste Arrarás.

Fernández also will oversee other related network news programming, breaking news and specials, and work closely with Mario “Don Francisco” Kreutzberger in producing and coordinating high-profile interviews. Kreutzberger, the longtime host of Univision’s Sabado Gigante, struck a deal with Telemundo in early March. 

Fernández will also be charged with strengthening synergies between Telemundo's national news team and NBC News.  

Commenting on Vélez’s new role, Silberwasser said: “We are thankful to Luis Carlos, who brought innovation and a new focus on breaking news which led us to a record-breaking year.  We are excited that he will be able to join Telemundo News’s Emmy Award-winning team ... and pursue his dreams as a journalist and on-air talent at Telemundo.”