Posted by: Manuel Delgado | November 5, 2009

Y Telemundo?

It’s interesting how far behind Telemundo remains… while still growing and making money for parent company NBC Universal. The network recently launched an ad campaign challenging viewers to be more daring.

Be more daring? As in “don’t watch what everybody else is watching”?
To understand the always changing dynamics of Spanish-language TV, a must read is Switching Channels, a well written article recently published by the New America Foundation.
Telemundo’s strategy is clear: to create original programming targeting US-based Latinos, reflecting the reality that we face in this country.
While the ubiquitous novelas that come from Mexico feature old colonial houses and mansions populated by land owners, financiers and evil rich girls; Telemundo’s characters live in apartment communities, work hard and face issues with school districts, taxes and immigration challenges.
The jury is still out about whether the Telemundo strategy will work in the long run. Logic indicates that as the Hispanic population ages and acculturates, they should have more things in common with the reality that Telemundo portraits on its shows.
However, is this what people want? To see themselves?
Successful sitcoms have always deformed reality into ideal situations.
Who can forget the Friends, living idyllic lives in Manhattan, dancing and splashing in water fountains without being arrested? Not too close to reality, if you ask me, but that didn’t matter.
Part of the enjoyment of TV is not to see ourselves as we are, but as we’d like to be. Too much reality, unless it’s part of a reality show, is not what entertainment is about.

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