Shorter telenovelas will be key for Fox's Spanish-lingo broadcast net

Working under the theme “Latino Entertainment, American Attitude,” Fox Hispanic Media has unveiled the inaugural programming lineup for MundoFox, its Spanish-language broadcast network set to bow in the fall.

In addition, FHM revealed programming for its three other Spanish-lingo webs covering sports (Fox Deportes), women’s lifestyle (Utilisima) and nonfiction entertainment (Nat Geo Mundo). MundoFox is a joint venture of Fox Intl. Channels and Colombia’s RCN Television Group. Wednesday’s upfront presentation by the Fox Hispanic Media unit is a vivid example of how much News Corp. is investing to capitalize on the growing market for Spanish-lingo fare in the U.S., which has the benefit of yielding programming that can also be exported to Latin American outlets.

Driving MundoFox’s programming will be its signature teleseries, which run slightly shorter than traditional telenovelas (80 episodes instead of 120-plus segs) but feature more action, diverse locations, well-crafted production values and performances, said MundoFox prexy Emiliano Saccone. Among these are season two of “El Capo,” produced by Fox TeleColombia for RCN, which revolves around a powerful drug lord in Colombia, and “Corazones Blindados” (Armored Hearts), a romantic drama centering on the impact of her husband’s kidnapping on a policewoman’s life.

The second driver behind MundoFox’s programming will be its weekly drama series led by the second season of “Kdabra,” which follows a magician sleuth, and “Tiempo Final,” in which characters face life-changing situations.

While these shows are currently produced in Colombia, the goal is to make some skeins in the U.S. “We hope to debut our U.S.-produced shows by the second year, perhaps even by the first,” Saccone said.

MundoFox will also include Fox TV skeins such as “Bones” and Fox movies, dubbed into Spanish.

Shine Group, a producer of scripted and reality programming, is providing a Spanish-language version of gameshow “Minute to Win It,” with popular Mexican presenter Marco Antonio Regil hosting.

MundoFox has secured charter affiliates covering more than 50% of U.S. households, according to Saccone. The goal is to reach 75% coverage.

Fox Deportes’ lineup includes games from the UEFA Champions League, Barclays Premier League, Copa Santander Libertadores, Copa Bridgestone Sudamericana, Major League Baseball and Golden Boy Promotions Boxing.

Nat Geo Mundo programming highlights include “Don’t Tell My Mother,” hosted by Diego Bunuel; the top-rated “Tabu Latin America”; and ongoing hits including “The Dog Whisperer” and “Mega Factories.”

Utilisima’s new programming slate includes “Tu Vida Mas Simple” (A Simple Life), the new season of “La Pasteleria” (The Pastry Shop) and “Que Piensan Los Hombres” (What Men Think).

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