Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wall Street Journal notices telenovelas!

Extracts from
U.S. Networks Try Crafting Their Own Spanish-Style Soaps
by Brooks Barnes for the Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2006

Imagine all the deceit, blackmail, murders and sex of the first two seasons of "Desperate Housewives" -- crammed into 13 steamy weeks.

That's the image three big TV companies are conjuring as they look to the model of Spanish-language soap operas in the search for a profitable new genre ... [they] are developing English-language versions of "telenovelas," the over-the-top, sex-drenched soap operas that have long been the hallmark of Spanish-language networks abroad and have commanded growing audiences in the U.S.

The networks hope the steamy genre will help win younger audiences, boost summer ratings and convince viewers to watch when the shows air, rather than record them and fast-forward through commercials.

While story lines on American soaps drag on for years, even decades, Spanish soaps deliver a concentrated dose of immediate gratification.

Telenovelas typically air several times a week in prime time and wrap everything up after about 13 weeks. There's a cliffhanger in each episode to keep viewers hooked.

Generally speaking, the most lucrative programs on TV are ones such as "Survivor" and "Desperate Housewives" -- shows that give audiences a shared experience and generate water-cooler buzz. Fans don't want to be left behind, so they're more likely to watch the shows when they air, instead of using a digital video recorder to record them and play them back later, often skipping commercials.

Telenovela story lines ... traditionally walk a careful line between drama, comedy and romance-novel kitsch.

Technorati Tags:


At 6:05 PM, Blogger Prego said...

Right now, Erik Estrada is jumping for joy. Maybe an English language version of Dos Mujeres, Un Camino is in the works.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger EdWonk said...

We lived in Mexico for seven years without cable or satellite. Therefore, we watched a lot of telenovelas (I became a fan of Veronica Castro.) and they taught helped me become fluent in Spanish.

Desperate Housewives is indeed tame (and boring) by comparison.

Unfortunately, the quality of the acting on many telenovelas leaves much to be desired. (In fact, in a way that reminds me of any movie directed by Edward D. Wood Jr, this poor acting is oddly entertaining.)

I don't think that American network television is prepared for this genre. I'll be interesting.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Find me on Google+