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Telemundo sees new day with live ‘Esta Manana’

Diaz-Balart, Calzada to host net's first ayem news skein

MIAMI — No. 2 Hispanic net Telemundo will bow its first ayem news and info show on Sept. 25, going up against Univision’s “Desperate America.” Telemundo’s “Esta Manana” will air weekdays 7-9 a.m. (“Desperate” is a three-hour program) and aims to offer something different to Spanish-speaking auds. The network has never before produced an ayem show.

“In no way are we going to imitate them,” said co-anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. “We are producing a clear-cut alternative. The English-language morning shows on ABC, NBC, CBS and, to a lesser extent, Fox, are different variations on a theme.”

“Esta Manana” (This Morning) will include segments on news, current events, celebrity interviews, entertainment features and immigration issues, as well as sports, health, the weather, cooking, culture and consumer issues.

The show marks the return of Diaz-Balart to Spanish-lingo TV. He was an anchor at CBS News’ “This Morning” from its bow in August 1996 to 1999.

Co-anchor Gloria Calzada is a veteran Mexican TV personality who specializes in entertainment news. She had a long career at leading Mexican broadcaster Televisa before relocating to Miami and Univision in 1994. Entertainment coverage will emphasize the Latin world, Calzada said, but will also include Hollywood and Euro reports.

Calzada noted that she, as an immigrant, and Diaz-Balart, as a U.S.-born Hispanic, reflect the profile of Spanish-lingo auds in the U.S.

Diaz-Balart said they will seek to attract viewers not just of “Desperate” but the bilingual — and even Spanish-dominant — viewers who tune in to the other network morning shows.

“All the English-language networks are not only insensitive to the needs of Latin viewers, they — even though they would deny it — don’t care about that audience,” he said. “I’m not just saying that because I work at a Spanish network. I said that at CBS, too.”

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