MEXICO CITY — Dubbed “The Wizard of Ratings,” Televisa producer Federico Wilkins has done more than his share to push forward the limits of freedom of expression, not to mention good taste, in the new Mexico.
Never mind that his talk-cum-freak show “Hasta en las Mejores Familias” (Even in the Best Families) was just dropped: that Televisa withstood the complaints of politicos, the Catholic Church and family values groups for more than six months before caving in marks progress.
Three years ago, both Televisa and TV Azteca canceled their lurid real-life cop shows, “Fuera de la Ley” (Outside the Law) and “Ciudad Desnuda” (Naked City), respectively, shortly after former president Ernesto Zedillo voiced official objections.
Wilkins, now 36, had a hand in both shows, jumping ship to Televisa halfway through the run of “Naked City,” then garnering an excellent 30 rating per show, to devise “Outside the Law.”
The scandal happened just three years after Wilkins’ 1994 arrival in Mexico following 10 years as a radio news producer in his native Cuba. In Mexico, he started as a news production assistant with Azteca before swiftly working his way up and then making the sideways step into reality programming.
Among the other shows Wilkins has produced is “Zona Abierta” (Open Zone), Televisa’s latenight, heavyweight talkshow. Guests have included the last two Mexican presidents.
Wilkins is now focused on “Hoy” (Today), the daytime lifestyle magazine he has produced since last fall. Decidely more tame than some of his past projects, the program nevertheless has ratings of around 10 points, high given its slot, and an audience share of roughly 50%.