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Televisa clients take dream trip

Mexican media conglom prepping new genres

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media conglom Televisa is moving beyond its traditional focus in telenovelas in 2007 with a lineup of new genres.

Web is preparing hipper dramas, action, comedy and horror series as well as what it calls “vanguard telenovelas,” which aim to take a more realistic tone on hard-hitting issues such as emigration and divorce.

Web wined and dined its 70 major buyers and advertising clients at an elaborate upfront Nov. 28, hosted by Televisa topper Emilio Azcarraga Jean and veep Jose Baston.

Execs were taken on a tour that was more like an interactive Disney ride than a traditional upfront.

Televisa’s main studios were turned into one big set, with hundreds of actors showing off the inner workings of the Mexican “Dream Factory,” the company’s slogan.

Instead of audioanimatronic creatures, Televisa stars presented the company’s shift into HD production, its new media strategy and upcoming series.

Dinner entertainment included live stagings from new telenovelas and perfs by Televisa hit boy-girl band RBD and Ricky Martin.

Televisa previously made its annual presentation at a dinner in Las Vegas, and the shift in style was a hit with execs, including Latin American and European broadcasters and Televisa’s biggest advertising clients.

Web has long relied on its proven formula of melodramatic telenovelas, many recycled from its massive catalog of scripts, extending back to the first telenovelas based on Cuban radio dramas.

But the web has been losing international sales to competition from the likes of Colombian producers and U.S. Hispanic web Telemundo, which markets telenovelas with more modern themes.    

Following the success of shows like “Rebelde,” about teens in a band, Televisa is aiming to attract more young-adult viewers and auds that aren’t drawn to its traditional telenovelas.

For 2007, Televisa is producing dramedy series “Mujers” (Women), a Mexican “Sex and the City” meets “Desperate Housewives”; action series “La Pantera” (The Panther), based on a Mexican comicbook; and a sitcom, “Y ahora que hago?” (Now What Do I Do?), in the vein of “Seinfeld,” staring comedian Adal Ramones.

Web’s also reviving “La hora marcada” (The Marked Hour) a suspense-horror series from the 1980s, where helmers like Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro cut their teeth. Production company Lemon Films is producing the series, marking its first break into TV .

Members of pop group RBD, the cast from hit telenovela “Rebelde,” return in “RBD: La Familia.”

Meanwhile producer Pedro Damian is seeking to repeat the success of “Rebelde” and launch another pop music hit with teen telenovela “Lola.”