Fox says it’s so confident that its all-telenovela, all-the-time format will work that it’s not even looking for shows in other genres.
Twentieth Television and Fox are so pleased with the telenovelas they are producing for their new network, My Network TV, that they are forsaking other genres, said Paul Buccieri, Twentieth’s president of programming at the TV Critics tour in Pasadena yesterday.
“We’re planning to do all telenovelas, all the time, 52 weeks a year,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Buccieri said. “We are so enthusiastic about these shows, how well they are turning out and the talent that’s coming in, that we’re acquiring scripts and actively developing next year’s slate.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
When the network was announced during May’s upfront presentation, MNT said it also was planning to air reality shows and other types of programs, but Fox has since shifted to the all-eggs-in-one-basket strategy.
“We plan to make these work,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â said Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox Television Stations. “Look at the more successful cable networks—Fox News, Lifetime. Fox never said if the news didn’t work, then we’ll do cooking shows. Lifetime didn’t say if we can’t program for women, we will program for men. We are going to stick with this programming and execute it and make it work.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Giving stations just one program format to market should make that task easier on them, Abernethy said. “That was one of the problems with UPN. With all its shows and wrestling, sports and sitcoms, how were we supposed to package those stations? With My Network TV, we are looking to have an identity that is consistent and then build a brand around that identity.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Fox also will make a 30-city tour to promote the new network before it launches on Tuesday, Sept. 5, with two telenovelas, Desire, starring CSI: Miami’s Sofia Milos, and Fashion House, starring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild. On Thursday morning, MNT said that Tatum O’Neal would star in one of the network’s next novelas, Art of Betrayal. Other novelas coming to the network are Dangerous Love and Watch Over Me.
All of the programs will be presented in high-definition, and will run Monday through Friday for 13 weeks or 65 episodes. Recap episodes will be presented on Saturdays.
MNT will make all its money from the five minutes of advertising per hour Fox will retain. Affiliates get nine minutes per hour, by far the most generous national-local split in television.
The network also will provide a great deal of complementary content on its Web site, set to launch later this summer, although Abernethy wasn’t sure whether entire episodes of the shows would be available there.
MNT is cleared in over 90% of the country, with Boston being the only large market where it doesn’t yet have an affiliate. Abernethy also said the network would announce a Boston affiliate next Wednesday.