In 2005, my new TiVo obsessively recorded shows off of Univision. It didn’t matter how many thumbs-down I gave to those shows, every evening for months I could turn on my TiVo without fail to find a stack of Mexican soap operas and game shows down in the recommended section. Eventually the TiVo realized that I didn’t speak Spanish and it started recording every “Queer Eye” rerun it could find instead. It was like it had a set of stereotypes that it was trying out one by one. Luckily, the third stereotype it tried was history geek, so we got along from then on. So in any case, it is with some nostalgia for those heady days of foreign language programming that I congratulate Univision on taking third place in the ratings on Monday night.
Airing the finale of its latest novela (which I understand is something similar to a mini-series) “Eva Luna,” Univision placed ahead of CBS and NBC for the night, coming in third behind ABC and Fox. Now there’s the enormous caveat that this was a one time event show going up against reruns, but it still marks one hell of an occasion for the network. A foreign language broadcast of original content managed to beat two of the big four for the night in America, drawing over 7.5 million viewers during the climactic final half hour.
Based on a 1985 novel of the same name, “Eva Luna” follows the title character’s life in a fictional South American country, and concludes with her wedding, which just goes to show that giant climactic weddings are good ratings in any language.
I have no familiarity with Univision outside my TiVo adventures, but since in these parts there is quite a following for various shows coming out of the BBC, I think it warrants throwing the question out: are there shows coming out of Latin America that would deserve a look, even if non-Spanish speakers needed to resort to subtitles?