TUNING IN TO TELEMUNDO FOR BETTER RECEPTION; NETWORK DEVISES A NEW GAME PLAN TO SHOWCASE LATINO TALENT.Byline: Keith Marder Daily News Television Writer
It's the tale of two brothers with a shared mission: nabbing bad guys. There'll be drama. There'll be action. There'll be sibling camaraderie.
It is to Latino actors.
``Reyes y Rey,'' a new series about two cops working cases on the U.S.-Mexico border, is Telemundo's (KVEA, Channel 52) first stab at producing a drama. It's one of seven shows the Spanish-speaking television network has launched, with more on the way.
And for Latino actors, writers and directors who say they long have been shunned by major American television networks, Telemundo's new push to produce its own shows - both in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. and in Mexico - means a chance to showcase their talents, finally.
``I think it's a wonderful start for something that the National Hispanic Media Coalition has been pushing for for the last 10 years,'' said Esther Renteria, national chair of the coalition.
``We have felt that English-language TV has ignored Latinos, especially in prime-time programming, and that so much of the programming that was shown on the two Spanish-language networks was imported product. We felt that U.S.-born Latinos were being ignored,'' Renteria said. ``This is good, not just for the representation, but also for the jobs that come with the production.''
If Latino representation in front of the camera is any indication, Telemundo's efforts could drastically change the entertainment job landscape.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Renteria, there were 800 speaking parts on prime-time television in 1996 - and 20 of them went to people of Latino heritage.
Only about a dozen Latino regulars have spots on the prime-time schedule, among them Hector Elizondo (``Chicago Hope''), Benjamin Bratt Benjamin Bratt (born December 16, 1963) is an American actor. Biography
Bratt's mother, Eldy Banda is a Quechua Native American activist, born in Lima, Peru, who moved to the U.S. at age 14. (``Law & Order''), Bruno Campos Bruno Campos (b. December 3 1973) is a Brazilian actor best known for his role as Dr. Quentin Costa on the Golden Globe Award-winning television show Nip/Tuck. (``Jesse'') and Rita Moreno, who is a regular on HBO's ``Oz,'' but often shows up on network fare.
``Other than an appearance by Gloria Estefan,'' Renteria said, ``that's it, baby. It has to get better just by the sheer numbers. Within a year or two, Latinos are going to be the dominant minority in this country.''
Indeed, Latinos are expected to be the largest minority in the country by 2004. And those viewers, says Renteria, are eager to see television shows that speak to issues and events they face in their own lives.
Enter Sony, which purchased Miami- and Los Angeles-based Telemundo for a reported $538 million on Aug. 13, bringing with it a desire to produce original programming.
The game plan at Telemundo is to program for a different audience than the current leader in Spanish-language television, Univision (KMEX, Channel 34), which attracts 82 percent of the market. Univision's 6 p.m. news beats all others in the Los Angeles market in many key demographics and tops KCBS KCBS Kansas City Barbecue Society
KCBS Korea Christian Book Service (now called KCB; Seoul, Korea)
KCBS Kerala Catholic Bible Society (Kerala, India) in overall viewers.
``We are going for a younger bicultural bi·cul·tur·al
Of or relating to two distinct cultures in one nation or geographic region: bicultural education.
bi·cul viewer,'' said Nely Galan, Telemundo's entertainment president. ``For most young people, Spanish-language television is not something they can relate to. We want young Latinos to see themselves reflected.''
To attract that young, very American audience, Telemundo is showing a block of some of Nickelodeon's most popular programs in Spanish - ``Aaahh Real Monsters,'' ``Rocko's Modern Life Rocko's Modern Life is an American animated television series created by Joe Murray whose four seasons aired from 1993 to 1996. The show was based around the surreal, parodistic adventures of an anthropomorphic wallaby named Rocko, and his life in the city of O-Town. ,'' ``Rugrats'' and ``Blue's Clues'' - from 6:30 to 8 a.m. weekdays.
And its original programs try to show the range of Latino experiences in the United States.
The cop duo show ``Reyes y Rey,'' for instance, will look at the immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. experience on the border.
The sitcom ``Una Familia This article is about the Polish political party. For other uses, see Familia (disambiguation).
Familia ("The Family," from the Romain familia Con Angel'' is a take on ``Who's the Boss?'' and ``Solo en America'' is a Latin-themed ``One Day at a Time One Day at a Time is a long-running American situation comedy that portrayed a divorced mother, played by Bonnie Franklin, her two teenage daughters (Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli) and their building superintendent (Pat Harrington, Jr.). .''
Telemundo even has game shows that will look familiar to American viewers. ``Buscando Pareja'' is the network's version of ``The Dating Game,'' but the Latino twist is that a family member will act as a chaperone chaperone /chap·er·one/ (shap´er-on) someone or something that accompanies and oversees another.
molecular chaperone on the date. In ``Los Recien Casados,'' the network's version of ``The Newlywed Game,'' there is a segment involving the mother-in-law.
The big question is: Will the new venues provided by Telemundo give Spanish-speaking entertainers a leg up into mainstream networks or will they simply lead to ghettoization?
``What Latino writers tell me is that, on the one hand, it is an alternative career route,'' said Dr. William Bielby, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara History
The predecessor to UCSB, Santa Barbara State College, focused on teacher training, industrial arts, home economics, and foreign languages. Intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State . ``But the pay is terrible and the opportunity to break out of that is nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non . Some of the Latino writers I talk to are very bitter to the fact that it's the only alternative to them.''
There's a long way to go, said Dr. Harry Pachon, president of the Thomas Rivera Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. that researches issues involving the Latino community.
``I think this is a major step, to be truthful, insofar in·so·far
To such an extent.
Adv. 1. insofar - to the degree or extent that; "insofar as it can be ascertained, the horse lung is comparable to that of man"; "so far as it is reasonably practical he should practice as offering another opportunity,'' Pachon said. ``It still doesn't address the larger issue of how mainstream television is incorporating Latinos in roles.''
Series offerings limited
Until the latest slew of programs produced in North America, series television on Spanish-language networks mainly has consisted of soap operas from South America. Only news programs and talk shows were produced in the United States.
Telemundo's Galan said that between 300 and 400 jobs have come as a result of the new production, and 80 percent of them have gone to Latinos.
It's a far cry from Latinos' paltry presence both in front of and behind the camera in this country's established networks.
Data released by the Screen Actors Guild echoes Renteria's claim. Its research indicated that in 1996, 3.9 percent of performers cast in television and feature film roles were of Latino descent.
The word from the Writers Guild of America The Writers Guild of America is a term often referring to the joint efforts of the Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America, west. Jointly, the two guilds act as the collective bargaining representative, or labor union, for writers in the motion picture and , West is even bleaker. Latino writers accounted for about 1 percent of total television employment each year from 1991 to 1997, according to the 1998 Hollywood Writers' Report prepared by UC Santa Barbara's Bielby.
``I think our time has come,'' Galan said. ``I, myself, as a Latina who owned a production company, got very, very frustrated in Hollywood. There weren't enough Latino people in the system.''
The new programs have not become instant hits. The Nielsen Hispanic Stations Index indicates that the ratings for ``Reyes y Rey'' have dropped in each of its first three broadcasts. The same was true for the first two episodes of ``Solo en America.''
But, Spanish-language television is on the rise. The October prime-time ratings for both Telemundo on KVEA and KMEX were up from a year ago. KVEA earned a 5.4 rating, compared to a 5.0 last year. KMEX received a 33.3 rating, up from 26.8 last year. One ratings point in the NHSI NHSI National Health Surveillance Infostructure (Health Canada)
NHSI National Healthcare Solutions, Inc. is equal to 14,500 households.
``I think the more diverse the better,'' said Pachon. ``I think ratings will ultimately be the arbiter of how successful they will be on these issues. It's too early to tell.''
Photo: (1--Cover--Color) Rita Moreno, `Oz'
(2--Cover--Color) Benjamin Bratt (top center), `Law & Order'
(3--Cover--Color) Hector Elizondo, `Chicago Hope'
(4--Cover--Color) Jimmy Smits, formerly of `NYPD Blue
(5) Guillermo Sauceda and Nadia Rowinsky of `Mira Que TVO'
(6) Carlos Calderon of `Buscando Parejas'
(7) Connie Llanos llanos (yä`nōs), Spanish American term for prairies, specifically those of the Orinoco River basin of N South America, in Venezuela and E Colombia. , top, and Maria Torres of `Solo en America'
(8) Rene Lavan of `Suenos de Fama'
(9) In addition to original programming, Telemundo airs movie hits such as ``Desperado,'' starring Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas.