Spanish-style soaps on English TV

In a great example of demography (and other factors) driving cultural shifts, Latino-style soaps will be appearing on English-language TV in San Francisco.

MyNetworkTV’s dramas – called ‘Desire’ and ‘Secrets’ – are each hourlong programs featuring 65 episodes that run over 13 weeks.

The network describes ‘Desire’ as the story of ‘two brothers on the run from the mafia who both fall in love with … the same woman’ and ‘Secrets’ as ‘an in-depth look at the dreams, successes and tragedies found in the fashion industry.’

MyNetworkTV, which officially premiered last month, is the first network to produce English-language versions of Latin American-style soap operas, said Les Eisner, the network’s spokesman.

‘These story lines will be guilty pleasures. There will be beautiful people, intriguing and captivating story lines with a cliff-hanger at the end of each episode,’ Eisner said.

Called ‘telenovelas,’ Spanish-language serial dramas keep tens of millions glued to their sets throughout the hemisphere. They differ from traditional American soap operas primarily because of their finite story arc. Eisner said the network is ‘Americanizing’ story lines and creating them with the same production value of regular prime-time programming.

‘This (telenovelas) is a concept that I, as a television person, have looked at for a long time and said ‘Why doesn’t anyone do that for an English audience?’ ‘ he said. ‘It attracts younger people, and it attracts just the kind of audience advertisers desire.’


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