Univision, Telemundo Ramping Up Product Placement Projects

Telemundo will team up with Brazilian network TV Globo for a new version of El Clon (The Clone), which was a big hit when the NBC Universal network aired the original Brazilian version in 2002, the network announced at its upfront last week.

Meanwhile, at its upfront, Univision, the leading Hispanic network, announced several new telenovelas, including the light-hearted Las Tontas No Van al Cielo (Dumb Girls Don't Go to Heaven) and ecology awareness-themed Tormenta en el Paraíso (Storm Over Paradise). Also, there's a new 13-week series talent showcase ¡Viva el Sueño! (Live the Dream!).

Telemundo is making its mark as a producer, and it now makes more than 1,000 hours of primetime programming from studios in Miami, Bogota, Colombia and Mexico City.

But Univision has the viewers—on many nights, Univision beats the big four English-language broadcasters in adults 18-34.

Telemundo Communications Group president Don Browne and other execs touted the network's concept-integration model, which allows advertisers to place products in Telemundo shows starting from the planning and conception stage.

Likewise, at Univision, advertisers are negotiating with the broadcaster for brand integration opportunities coupled with upfront ad buys.

"That's what the industry is calling for," said David Lawenda, Univision president of advertising sales and marketing. "You'll see a lot more of that."

Telemundo's new production for El Clon will switch the story to Los Angeles, part of Telemundo's efforts to make a bigger splash in the U.S and international Hispanic marketplace.

Probably the most controversial new telenovela will be Telemundo's Sin Tetas No Hay Paradiso (Without Breasts There Is No Paradise), based on Gustavo Bolivar's best-selling novel about a 17-year-old prostitute who undergoes breast augmentation so she will be more desirable to customers.

Browne called the program, which will debut June 16, "constructively provocative" and predicted that it will create conversations about teen-agers having their breasts enhanced, for whatever reason.

The NBC network will also air a separately produced English-language version of the show, but it's not scheduled yet.

Also new to the Telemundo slate will be the sexy Por Que Diablos? (Why the Devil?), the comical Lola Calamidades (Calamity Lola), and Amor de Madre (A Mother's Love) and El Juramento (Secret Lies).

Telemundo's Browne was philosophical about the economic climate as the upfronts commenced, claiming that the down economy is an "equal-opportunity challenge" that won't fall any harder for Spanish-language outlets than others. Michael Rodriguez, senior VP of network sales and marketing, said, "The [unstable] economy is something that has come up in every single development meeting."