‘Bella’ boosts Univision

Telenovela has helped web capture No. 4 position

Comedic telenovela “La Fea mas bella,” the Mexican version of Colombian soap “Yo soy Betty la fea,” helped top U.S. Hispanic web Univision beat either ABC or NBC in young demos on four out of seven nights the week of May 15.

Ever since Univision bowed it April 24 at 8 p.m., the telenovela has helped Univision capture the No. 4 position the past two weeks during the 8-9 p.m. weekday slot, beating ABC, WB and UPN among adults 18-34.

The telenovela also has done well for producer Televisa in Mexico, which moved the novela from its afternoon slot to primetime, where it became a ratings hit.

Meanwhile, ABC has scheduled its upcoming remake “Betty the Ugly” for Fridays at 8 p.m. However, this will be in a weekly format instead of stripped daily, as a telenovela normally should.

“It would be too risky if they were to strip it daily,” said an observer. “They’d have to replace five hours instead of one if it bombed.”

Given the format’s success rate in Mexico, India, Russia, Germany and in the U.S., the charm may just continue at ABC.

Co-producer Salma Hayek makes a cameo appearance in the sitcom, set in the world of high fashion. Other executive producers include Ben Silverman, Silvio Horta and Jose Tamez. America Ferrera plays Betty.

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