Mexicans look for features

Stations competing for reality shows

MEXICO CITY Mexico’s rival stations Televisa and TV Azteca will be competing at Mipcom to sign the country’s first reality format.

Televisa VP of programming Alberto Ciurana, who will be making the voyage to Cannes, is determined to keep his cards close to his chest, but admitted, “They are very attractive formats for us.”

Meanwhile, Azteca is already in talks with Castaway, the British rights holder to the “Survivor” format, and has also been in contact with Endemol, the Dutch producer-originator of “Big Brother.”

“We will also be looking for alternative reality formats in Cannes,” says Pedro Lazcurain, TV Azteca’s head of acquisitions. “We know Televisa is looking for the same thing and whoever gets it on air first in Mexico will have an advantage.”

Any format would have to be tailored to Mexican sensitivities with Lazcurain warning that cameras in bedrooms would upset Catholic auds.

Despite a wave of popular talkshows sweeping Mexican terrestrial TV in the last six months — Televisa currently transmits some five hours a day on its four stations.

Televisa’s shopping list will include the usual fare: sitcoms and movies. The channel broadcasts an average of 18 hours a day of foreign product on its channels 4 and 5.

“That doesn’t vary. We are very faithful to (foreign) programs,” Ciurana says.

Azteca also principally will be looking for feature films with internationally known stars to broadcast in primetime on its Channel 7.

Says Lazcurain: “American but also Australian, British and Canadian films are what we are after — suspense, action and thrillers.”

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