English, Spanish pix mix in HBO Latino

Network to film original material

NEW YORK — Don’t do a double-take if you start hearing Tony Soprano bark out orders to his Mafia henchmen in Spanish: Your cable company simply may have picked up HBO Latino.

John Billock, president of HBO’s U.S.-network group, said the new channel should be ready to go up on the satellite sometime in the fall. Billock said HBO Latino won’t consist just of Spanish-dubbed versions of HBO’s regular lineup of American theatrical movies and series like “The Sopranos,” “Sex & the City” and “Oz.”

Buying windows

“We’ll be buying the pay TV window of new Spanish-language movies,” which will be getting their U.S. premiere, he said. HBO will also film original material of varying lengths for interstitial slotting on HBO Latino between the movies and series.

HBO Latino will become the seventh multiplexed extension of the HBO brand, called HBO the Works. (The original six are HBO, HBO Plus, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Comedy and HBO Zone.)

The new network takes into account the 11% of HBO’s subscriber base that is Latino. In total, 19% of Hispanic households in the U.S. subscribe to HBO, according to Billock.

In its search for Spanish-language programming, HBO will sponsor the 16th Chicago Latino Film Festival, which features fresh product from Hispanic filmmakers.

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