TV programs raising awareness about issues

BUENOS AIRES — “Humanos en el camino” (Humans on the Road) is stretching beyond the smallscreen to try to raise awareness about poverty and other issues.

Rosstoc, the producer, is arranging debates and exhibits and putting viewers and corporations in contact with people and orgs related to the content of the weekly program so they can get involved.

 The social spin-off of programs is new in Argentina, yet it follows a trend of expanding into albums, merchandising, magazines and live theater and concerts to boost revenue in a market where programming prices often don’t cover costs.

“The idea is to debate, analyze and discuss issues, to find what roads can be taken so things can change,” says Gaston Pauls, a thesp best known for crime caper “Nine Queens” and the war pic “Enlightened by Fire.”

On “Humans,” Pauls travels widely to spend time with coal miners recovering from a tragedy, kids juggling balls for spare change, families living on the banks of a polluted river, a girl struggling with anorexia and a father whose son was murdered by the country’s 1976-82 military dictatorship.

 “The issues we touch in the program need further work, need involvement, commitment. We can’t just be a TV program that starts at 11 p.m. and ends at midnight,” says Alejandro Suaya, a partner at Rosstoc.

 “Humanos” has aired for two seasons with strong audience numbers on Telefe, the country’s leading network.

 Endemol, too, is expanding “Cuestion de peso” (Question of Weight), a popular daily program on Artear-Canal 13 about the problems of losing weight, into rallies to pressure legislators to approve a bill to help fight obesity. More than 5,000 people gathered to form a human-chain around Congress.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more