Fusion, the news-and-lifestyle cable network aimed at Latino audiences and backed by Univision and Walt Disney’s ABC, said it would launch in October 28 in approximately 20 million homes, bringing with it a primetime block that offers a mix of satire, opinion and current events.
The network aims to take advantage of a growing Hispanic consumer base in the U.S. that enjoys English-language programming. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a record 31 million Hispanics aged 5 and older are proficient in English, up from 19 million in 2000 and 8 million in 1980.
Popular Univision anchor Jorge Ramos will lead the network’s primetime block, with “America with Jorge Ramos,” which is billed as a program that will feature “sharp, fair and unbiased discussion” about the issues of the day.
From there, Fusion will veer into a decidedly alternative view for a network that offers news coverage. At 9 p.m., the network will air “Sports Bar,” a sports-themed talk show hosted by members of an improv comedy group that will feature comedic sketches as well as discussion.
The network said it would run a second half-hour of topical satire at 9:30 p.m., and had hired David Javerbaum, the former executive producer of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” to create it and produce it along with the Jim Henson Company. Javerbaum is to oversee the entire 9 p.m. block and create new comedy for the network.
At 10 p.m., Mexican-born journalist Leon Krauze will host “Open Source with Leon Krauze,” a live hour-long talk show where topics can veer from politics to comic books.
The network will devote Saturday and Sunday nights to documentaries, original series and specials. “Strange Medicine” is a half-hour 12-part quest to find the strangest cures and most exotic medicines from around the world. “Back Home” follows a different celebrity guest each week on an emotional voyage to their family’s country of origin.
Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. weeknights, Fusion will offer commentary and analysis from outspoken hosts. Derrick N. Ashong, a former Al Jazeera English and SiriusXM host will hold forth on “D.N.A.” at 6 p.m. and Alicia Mendez, a former Huffington Post and SIriusXM personality, will host a 7 p.m. talk hour,
Six cable distributors have agreed to carry the network, including Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber. What remains to be seen is whether Fusion can find a perch on Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
The network said it expected to unveil more talent deals in the days leading up to its Oct 28 launch.