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MAR
4
6 MOS

Jorge Ramos Finalizes Deal to Remain at Fusion (Exclusive)

Ramos' English-language Fusion show has brought the Univision anchor new fans among English-speakers: "It's incredible what happens when you don't need translation."

Jorge Ramos Headshot - H 2014
Courtesy of Fusion
Jorge Ramos

Jorge Ramos has finalized a new deal to remain at Fusion, the startup English-language network that is a partnership between Univision and ABC News, through the 2016 presidential election. America with Jorge Ramos has anchored Fusion's nightly lineup since the channel launched last fall in 20 million homes. At the same time, Ramos has continued to co-anchor Univision's flagship nightly news program Noticiero Univision with Maria Elena Salinas, as well as his Sunday public affairs program Al Punto.

The pace has been a bit grueling, he told The Hollywood Reporter during a phone interview Tuesday. And beginning March 18, America will shift from a weeknight program to a weekly show, airing Tuesday nights at 7 and 10.

"I was doing an average of 35 interviews per week in both languages," said Ramos. "So it was a little taxing and exciting at the same time."

STORY: Isaac Lee Named CEO of Startup Fusion Network

Since he won't be locked in the studio six days a week, he'll be able to do more field pieces; he was recently in Mexico City reporting on President Barack Obama's effort to forge closer trade ties with America's southwestern neighbor.

Ramos, said Fusion CEO Isaac Lee in a statement "has repeatedly helped Fusion break through to affect the national dialogue over the past several months and we are thrilled that he will continue to bring his signature brand of journalism to our viewers in the years ahead." 

Ramos, who emigrated from Mexico in 1983, is a registered Independent and wields considerable influence in the Hispanic community. And that community is growing rapidly. U.S. Hispanics number more than 50 million today, by 2050, one in three Americans are expected to be of Hispanic descent. And as Ramos has long observed, the White House is unattainable without the Hispanic vote. But Ramos' presence on Fusion, which is still in its nascent stages, has brought the veteran anchor a new level of notoriety in the English-speaking media universe.

"It's incredible what happens when you don't need translation," he said. "I've done interviews in Spanish with national news makers that had no consequences whatsoever [in the English-speaking world] because they were done in Spanish."

And Ramos' intense interviewing style -- well-known to his Spanish-speaking viewers - has recently won him new fans from disparate sides of the political divide. Rachel Maddow singled out Ramos on her MSNBC show after Ramos pressed Sen. Rand Paul on multiple plagiarism allegations. And Matt Drudge called Ramos the "last journalist standing" after Ramos' combative interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Members of Congress and the White House are responding almost immediately when we broadcast something on Fusion," explained Ramos. "And as a journalist, that's very rewarding. Finally, they are paying attention to what I've been doing for 30 years. Before, when they would give me an interview, it was a given that the repercussions of that interview were going to be limited to the Hispanic community. And now when they talk to me, it's a different dynamic."

With immigration reform – or lack thereof – a seemingly perpetual political hot button, Ramos has had no trouble booking politicians with eyes on 2016. Since he's been at Fusion, he's interviewed controversial Texas Sen. Ted Cruz three times. Cruz, whose Cuban immigrant father became a U.S. citizen in 2005, is more comfortable with English speaking interlocutors, said Ramos.

Asked if he has mixed feelings about his newfound visibility among English-speakers, Ramos said: "No, it's the name of the game, I understand it very clearly. It's been a fantastic opportunity."