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Judge puts Chapoy back in soup

MEXICO CITY — A criminal judge formally indicted the popular host of a gossip show Wednesday on charges of copyright violation, renewing a threat to the survival of one of TV Azteca’s top programs just as the broadcaster is to go public.

A Mexico City judge upheld charges against Pati Chapoy, host of “Ventaneando,” for the alleged illegal screening of clips from novelas and other productions of rival broadcaster Televisa.

On July 17, police had tried to arrest Chapoy after Televisa successfully appealed the 1996 ruling that rejected its original complaint. Azteca was able to preempt Chapoy’s arrest, but she had to testify in court July 24.

In a statement Wednesday, TV Azteca said Chapoy is innocent until a final ruling has been made, and that the injunction order still protects her from arrest. Chapoy will continue to host her show as usual, the company said.

Azteca emphasized its view that it is acting in accordance with Mexican law.

The Chapoy saga is the latest battle in the ongoing fight between the two broadcasters, and some analysts and commentators have suggested that more than copyright issues may be at stake.

Ratings for “Ventaneando” have soared recently due to huge prizes for winners.

The success of Chapoy’s show is also believed to a selling point in TV Azteca’s roadshow for its upcoming initial public offering.

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