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Univision Touts Multicultural ‘Mainstream,’ Luis Miguel Drama and Fusion at Upfront

Variety logo Variety 5/16/2017 Anna Marie de la Fuente
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Univision executives gave a big plug to the multicultural programming on cabler Fusion and the efforts to diversify the range of programming on the mothership broadcast networks during its upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday.

“What marketers thought of as multicultural media is fast becoming mainstream,” Steve Mandala, Univision’s exec VP of ad sales, told the crowd of media buyers gathered at the Lyric Theater.

Fusion unveiled a creative board stocked with boldface names to “identify the next generation of creators and build a pipeline of diverse talent the network can tap into.” The list includes actresses Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, “O.J.: Made in America” director Ezra Edelman and Puerto Rican rapper Residente. Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. will chair the board.

Programming executives discussed their efforts to expand into new program formats beyond the telenovela staples. They also emphasized the focus on cross-media storytelling spanning TV and digital platforms.

Univision entertainment president Lourdes Diaz gave a big pitch to plans for biographical drama series on superstar singer Luis Miguel. Univision rival Telemundo is working on a similar project with Miguel’s cooperation. Diaz said that would give an edge to Univision’s take on his life.

“We’re not obliged to tell anything but the whole truth — every juicy detail,” she said. She added that because Miguel “literally grew up in front of Televisa cameras, we have a crazy amount of footage — authentic footage.”

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