Univision shakes it up

Announces new slate dominated by Televisa product

Six weeks before Univision Communications is set to face Mexican media giant Televisa in court, the top-rated Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S. announced a 2008-09 lineup dominated by Televisa product.

The trial date for the 3-year-old suit by Televisa, which seeking to terminate its long-term programming agreement with Univision, recently was pushed to July 1.

Although the English-speaking broadcast networks scaled back their upfront presentations this year, Univision made a splash Wednesday at Lincoln Center with a performance by Shakira and the opening number of the recently crowned Tony front-runner musical "In the Heights."

Univision's new lineup of primetime telenovelas -- all from Televisa -- include "Las Tontas No Van al Cielo" (Dumb Girls Don't Go to Heaven), a look at how love can make people do foolish things; "Tormenta en el Paraiso" (Storm over Paradise), a love story about two people who struggle to break an age-old Mayan curse; "Querida Enemiga" (My Dearest Enemy), a tale of betrayal among young lovers; and "Alma de Hierro" (Soul of Steel), the story of an unconventional family who must learn to live together.

Univision's new one-hour series "La Rosa de Guadalupe" (The Rose of Guadalupe) and "Central de Abasto" (Farmer's Market) also hail form Televisa.

Univision's signature Saturday night variety/game show, "Sabado Gigante," is undergoing a major renovation, with plans to bring a faster pace and a more modern, high-tech look. It will be renamed "El Nuevo Sabado Gigante" (The New Giant Saturday).

Univision also is adding two reality shows to its lineup, the singing competition "Viva el Sueno!" (Live the Dream) and soccer-themed "El Juego Supremo" (The Ultimate Match), a show in which five soccer legends from Mexico and five from the U.S. and Latin America will coach two amateur teams.

Also next season, the network's top talk-show host, Cristina Saralegui, will mark her 20th anniversary.

Nellie Andreeva reported from Los Angeles; Mediaweek reporter John Consoli reported from New York.