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Mexico’s TV Azteca axes popular violent newsmag

'Duro y Directo' ended to reduce TV violence

MEXICO CITY — Despite the on-going success of tabloid news show “Duro y Directo” (Hard and Direct), Televisa will end its 19-month run on Friday in a bid to reduce onscreen violence.

Officials, including President Ernesto Zedillo, have complained about the media’s graphic and sensationalistic coverage of crime. Producer Alexis Nunez denied the government had pressured Televisa to pull the popular show.

Televisa will still include so-called notas rojas in its regular news broadcasts, but has opted to reduce air time dedicated to violent crime, Nunez told Daily Variety.

“Duro y Directo” regularly aired weeknights from 7:30-9 p.m., scoring an average 12 rating points since its late 1997 launch, second only to Televisa’s own telenovelas, Nunez said.

Even after Televisa decided to cancel, the show hit a ratings high of 29 points last month with its coverage of the gangland-style murder of TV personality Francisco “Paco” Stanley.

True-crime programming has faced opposition before. In November 1997, No. 2 broadcaster TV Azteca abruptly yanked its hit “Ciudad Desnuda” (Naked City) off the air, reportedly due to viewer complaints about its handling of violent content.

Televisa axed “Fuera de la Ley” (Outside the Law) shortly thereafter. “Duro y Directo” was launched to replace it, but the content was toned down so as not to include images of blood or dead bodies, said Nunez, who also produced “Fuera.”

A gameshow will bow July 19 in the “Duro y Directo” timeslot.

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