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The Latino population in the U.S is growing, and whether you like it or not this will eventually have an effect on something that is as American as apple pie.

What I'm talking about here today is the face of television in America. I was intrigued after I read an article that talked about television and the Latino audience.

Source: International Herald Tribune
Click here to read article

Changing U.S. audience poses test for a giant of spanish TV
The New York Times


"One of the questions we get asked by our clients more frequently that we didn't get asked five years ago is, How do we reach the bilingual Hispanic?" said Roberto Ruiz, managing director at La Agencia de Orcí & Asociados, a leading Hispanic marketing agency based in Los Angeles. "We all understand that the market has nuances."

Suddenly, options seem to be coming from all directions. On the English-language side, the major networks have announced plans to remake telenovelas in English. Fox's new broadcast network, My Network TV, will have a two-hour prime-time block of such soaps this fall, aimed at those aged 18 to 49, with a special eye toward Latinos.

"It's a segment of the marketplace that can't be ignored," said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer of Twentieth Television, the Fox unit providing content for the new network. "They're extremely loyal and they're large consumers of media."

The words of this next executive are of special interest to me because she said something that I have believed in for a long time.

Cynthia Hudson-Fernandez, executive vice president and chief creative officer of Spanish Broadcasting System, said the company's new Miami television station is pursuing Latinos 18 to 49 no matter where they were born or what hyphenated national group they belong to.

"These are a new generation of people who have a very broad perspective," she said. "They don't have to prove that they're one thing or another to be comfortable as Americans. If it's quality programming, they don't care if it's English or Spanish."

Quality programming, that is what I want.

I hope these networks don't start rolling out a series of lame attempts of portraying Latino life, just for the sake of trying to attract a larger audience.

I'm sick and tired of watching mediocre sitcoms that portray a "Latino family." Before even watching these shows I can already tell you all the storylines and punchlines that will covered during the entire run of the sitcom:

  • Expect many jokes about being mistaken for a gardener, janitor or maid.

  • One character must be an "older generation" Latino who speaks mainly Spanish. The purpose of this character is to bring everyone back to reality and remind them how difficult it was in the past and how easy everyone has it now. This character will also be used as comic relief during stressful times.

  • References to lowriders, mariachis and tortillas are mandatory.

  • One of the characters must be involved in a romantic relationship or a close friendship with an Anglo. This Anglo will also be used for comic relief; for example they will eat a tamale with the husk still on it.

  • Those are the main parts of the lame Latino show formula I can think of now. I'm sure there are others we can include in that list.

    I don't need to see that. Don't patronize me by putting Latinos on a sub-par show just for the sake of diversity.

    Why can't we have intelligent shows with Latino characters like "Seinfeld" or "The Office?" Not all of us have our "Latino" flag waving at all times and I don't need to see a show that is constantly pushing the Latino-ness of the characters in my face. That gets old fast.

    I also do not think the lack of quality in these Latino shows is due to the lack of talented Latino writers. If anything I bet if an intelligent comedy written by Latinos was brought up to these TV execs at the major networks, those higher ups would pass on it because the show wasn't "Latino" enough for them. They would send the scripts back and ask, "Where are the lowriders and jokes about white people trying to eat tamales?"

    If these television networks are going to try and include more Latinos in primetime, I do applaud them. But please, for the sake of us all, do it right.

    Or better yet, call me up. I have an idea or two to share.