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Story not lost in translation.

BUENOS AIRES Disney may be localizing versions of "Desperate Housewives" for the Latin American market--but U.S. viewers would see little difference.

The characters' names and languages have been changed, and a few local expressions have been inserted. But it "hasn't been Argentine-ized," Carola Reyna tells Variety between takes at the Buenos Aires' set. She plays Vera Scherer, aka the perfect housewife Bree Van De Kamp, created by Marcia Cross Stateside.

Sony Pictures TV Intl. added far more local flavor to its adaptations of "The Nanny," "Married ... With Children" and "Who's the Boss?," which aired on Argentina's Telefe.

However, Reyna, who played C.C. Babcock in the hit Argentinean version of "The Nanny," doesn't think the local "DH" will alienate viewers as the stories and characters are universal.

"We are being pretty loyal to the original," says co-director Sebastian Pivotto, behind TV hits like "El sodero de mi vida" (The Bubbleman of My Life). "Even the decoration in the houses is almost exactly the same."

Calle Manzanares, the local Wisteria Lane on the outskirts of Buenos Aires looks very, well, American suburbia. The houses are large and colorful, the lawns are manicured and the street quiet. It's not overwhelmingly foreign to Argentines as there's been a recent exodus to gated communities outside cities.

The differences come from the actresses' personal touches, Pivotto says.

That was the only way to do it, says Araceli Gonzalez, who plays materialistic ex-model Gabriela Solis, a name that's changed little from the U.S.' Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria).

She co-stars with Gabriela Toscano, who plays Susana Martini Teri Hatcher's character Susan Mayer), and Mercedes Moran, who plays Lia Salgari (Felicity Huffman's character-Lynette Scavo).

"The differences are in the way we speak, the way we communicate, the way we are" as Argentines, says Gonzalez, who has starred in TV hits including "Provocame" (Savage Attraction). "But the rest is the same."

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Title Annotation:TELEVISION/INTERNATIONAL; "Desperate Housewives" for the Latin American market
Author:Newbery, Charles
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 31, 2006
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