Webs woo viewers with matchmaking skeins

Astrologically-themed show topping the competish

BUENOS AIRES — Matchmaking shows are heating up the small screen in Argentina.

Second-ranked Artear-Canal 13, a unit of local media conglom Grupo Clarin, is winning the 3 p.m. slot weekdays with “12 corazones” (12 Hearts) produced by Grupo Arbol’s Promofilm.

In the hourlong show, an astrologer helps eight women find their true love in one of the four male guests.

To compete, third-ranked Canal 9, owned by local journalist-lawyer Daniel Hadad, has slotted two dating shows.

At 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, it airs “Quimica, la formula perfecta” (Chemistry, the Perfect Formula), produced by the local unit of Dutch format king Endemol, a unit of Spain’s Telefonica. A person finds a partner from four participants through a series of games and lots of questions related to sex.

At 11 p.m. on Fridays it airs “Cambio y fuera” (Change & Out), a weekly format similar to MTV’S “Dismissed.” Three people take out the main contestant at the same time, each competing to win his or her affection.

The rise in dating programs is a part of broadcasters’ strategy to expand their audience makeup, says Marcelo Fedele, an analyst at media-buying firm EPM.

Artear is trying to reach lower- and middle-class viewers, to add to its long-held popularity with the upper crust, Fedele said. And Canal 9 is targeting women with “Chemistry” and “Change” to shed its image as a man’s channel.

Telefe (owned by Telefonica) has dominated the ratings for more than a decade thanks largely to shows that reach a broad audience.

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