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V-me Unveils 2008 Programming

V-me, the national Spanish-language network, which marks its first anniversary this week, has plenty to celebrate: It has secured nationwide distribution via DirecTV and Dish Network, reaching 37 million homes nationwide, 5.6 million of those Hispanics, becoming the second largest Spanish-language cable channel after Galavision.

Having reached the distribution it promised to deliver, V-me now plans to make 2008 the year of content, not only by premiering new shows, but leveraging the popularity of some of its properties to ink licensing and merchandising deals, such as Aire Yoga, which is now being produced for DVD.

During an exclusive presentation, V-me’s chief content officer Guillermo Sierra, walked Hispanic TV Update through the network’s 2008 grid, effective March 3, which brings several changes to the current schedule to accommodate what the network calls “themed nights”: Monday will focus on drama, Tuesday on sports, Wednesday on movies, Thursday on music and Friday on current affairs.

Among the most notable changes, the host of nightly show Viva Voz, Jorge Gestoso, will assume the role of managing editor. He will executive produce the show, moving the entire production to his Washington, D.C.-based production company Gestoso Television News. Viva Voz, which in 2007 aired 150 episodes, will also integrate more user-generated content online and on the air. For its part, Estudio Billboard, the music-interview weekly show co-produced with Billboard magazine, is now moving to Thursdays.

Also as part of its themed nights, the network on Mondays will showcase weekly miniseries acquired from BBC, Seven One and Media Set, including The Other Boleyn Girl and Treasure Island. On the sports front are a new weekly sports program in collaboration with TransWorld International and 90-second sports updates on the hour during prime time (7 p.m.-10 p.m.). V-me this first quarter will debut Páginas del New York Times, the weekly show hosted by Marian de la Fuente and produced in collaboration with The New York Times.

In response to V-me’s distribution via satellite, the network has this month introduced what it calls “double prime time,” referring to the fact that whatever airs at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in the East Coast will air in the same time slots on the West Coast.