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Univision Unveils 20-Plus Shows

Univision Communications pulled the curtain back on 20-plus new shows at its upfront presentation at Lincoln Center in Manhattan the afternoon of May 20. The Spanish-language network's newbies include five telenovelas, a pair of weekly series, two reality programs, two variety shows, and specials celebrating Mexico's bicentennial and the "biggest and brightest" female entertainers.

Univision also announced it will air the Mexican national soccer team's games following the 2010 World Cup. 

Sister network TeleFutura also got four new novelas and Hollywood films, such as The Bourne Supremacy and Angels and Demons, in Spanish.

The presentation, bearing the tagline Viva El Espanol, kicked off with entertainer Ricky Martin strolling out and issuing a Tweet, then walking offstage while pretending to barely notice the crowd. He came back an hour later for a 20-minute set, replete with horns, lights and lots of smoke.   

"Today we celebrate Hispanic consumers and the thriving language that unites them. Hispanics continue to choose Spanish every day," said Univision President/CEO Joe Uva in a statement. "Every marketer recognizes that the U.S. Census findings will show the new face of America and Univision is uniquely positioned to help marketers maximize their connection to this vibrant consumer base."

Univision announced late last year it was creating Univision Studios, with an eye on owning more of its programming. Univision Networks President Cesar Conde said the studio enables Univision to be a major producer across multiple genres, and to customize content for marketers. "Univision is exclusively able to offer audiences the best content from our international partners and, at the same time, complement that success with the most relevant content available anywhere through our Univision Studio productions, customized for the U.S. Hispanic market," he said.

Univision's rookie novelas include Eva Luna, a "modern love story" that comes from the new studio and from Venevision. Univision Studios and Endemol are joining forces on the reality newcomer Mira Quien Baila (Look Who's Dancing), while Univision Studios and BETV partner on the tropical island survival reality show Desafio: La Gran Batalla (The Challenge - The Big Battle.)

Novelas from Televisa International include Soy tu Duena (You Belong to Me), Mar de Amor (Sea of Love) and Zacatillo, Un Lugar en Tu Corazon (Zacatillo, A Place in Your Heart).

Univision also announced a quartet of novelas on its Galavision network, while novela fans can get their fill of breathless romance on the broadband channel 

The presentation featured a humorous bit showing the Hispanic passion for soccer. A pair of pasty English soccer announcers manned a studio desk marked ELTN, for English Language Television Network, and offered dry play-by-play of the soccer action. The Univision duo then came out at their own desk and provided high-octane commentary, ending with a throaty "GOL!!!" and oodles of confetti.

Rival Spanish-language network Telemundo presented its new slate at a press breakfast at New York restaurant Modern May 13, often reminding attendees that it creates original programming. Both Telemundo and Univision say the 2010 U.S. Census will show just how large a presence the Hispanic community has in the U.S.

"Brands that are transitioning from multicultural marketing to marketing to a multicultural nation are poised to win," said Univision Advertising Sales and Marketing President David Lawenda. "Our country has changed dramatically and any strategy for U.S. growth must target Hispanic consumers in the language of their hearts."

Univision announced earlier this month that first quarter revenue was up 10.6%. It owns 63 TV stations in addition to its various networks.