Telemundo to divide Gems into 2 rings

U.S. and Latin America split signals

MIAMI — Struggling Spanish-lingo femme web Gems TV will be split into two channels beginning in October, Telemundo Cable president Manuel Abud has told Daily Variety.

Telemundo Cable will program Gems for the U.S., while Argentine pay TV programmer Pramer, a subsid of Telemundo shareholder Liberty Media, will take over the Latin America channel.

Gems already operates as two signals, one for the U.S. and one for Latin America, and its 13 million subs are roughly divided between the two.

When No. 2 Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo Network announced it was acquiring the channel in May, prexy and CEO James McNamara said it would use Gems to boost its own competitive position against rival Hispanic net Univision, which owns and operates leading U.S. Spanish-lingo cable channel Galavision.

Telemundo and Pramer owned Gems distrib rights in the U.S. and Latin America, respectively, prior to the takeover.

“We are going to maximize and leverage the assets of Telemundo… including our productions, library and talent,” Abud told Daily Variety.

Gems U.S. already airs “America en Vivo,” a primetime call-in news show, a la Larry King, that is produced for Telemundo Intl., the redubbed and relaunched CBS/Telenoticias.

Abud said the programming grid of the two Gems will likely be similar for a few months, but gradually there will be more differentiation.

He’s also toying with renaming Gems. At its launch, Gems only featured telenovelas and its name was inspired by the jewel-named telenovelas, like “Safiro,” that were popular at the time.

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