Mexico: TV titans continue slugfest

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans may not know where their country is headed amid stagnant economic growth, endemic poverty, continued mass migration to the U.S. and political turmoil — but at least there’s continuity on the tube.

Televisa and TV Azteca’s share of Mexican broadcast eyeballs remain the same constant 70-30 split, respectively, established after TV Azteca entered the Mexican market in the ’90s. Nets’ flagship channels pit telenovela against telenovela, and reality format against similar reality format. Top U.S. series and pics play on secondary channels through Televisa’s output deal with Warner Bros., Universal and DreamWorks while rival web TV Azteca has a deal with Disney.

Nets are currently facing off Sunday nights with singing competitions. Televisa’s glitzy, star-studded “Singing for a Dream,” where “American Idol” meets a medical lottery, has double the viewers of TV Azteca’s “Challenge of the Stars,” where the competitors of the past four seasons of TV Azteca’s version of American Idol “La Academia” compete, again.

Current ratings blockbuster is “La fea mas bella” (The Prettiest Ugly Girl), Televisa’s remake of Columbian hit “Betty, la fea,” which continues to prove Televisa’s expertise in remaking top South American soaps as bigger hits.

With local production booming, both Mexican nets are heading to Mip to sell.

Besides “Prettiest,” Televisa Estudios will present two new telenovelas: “The Hidden Truth” (La Verdad Oculta), already a local hit, and “Peregrina,” the second production by Natalie Lartilleux, wife of Televisa’s head of telenovela production, Salvador Mejia.

In addition to “Singing for a Dream,” Televisa will also present precursor “Dancing for a Dream.” Format has already sold in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Univision’s rebroadcast has given U.S. Spanish-lingo net its highest Sunday ratings ever for the 18-34 demo, making it the No. 3 U.S. net overall for that age group in the Sunday 8 p.m. slot. on Feb. 23 — the finale of the first round of competition.

TV Azteca has two new telenovelas, including “Amor sin condiciones” (Unconditional Love), starring Mariana Ochoa, and its first co-production with Columbia’s Caracol, “Amores Cruzados” (Crossed Loves), a prince-and-the-pauper play set in Mexico and Cartegena.


Top three shows


1. “La fea más bella,” Televisa

2. “Cantando por un sueno,” Televisa

3. “La verdad oculta,” Televisa