Univision shakes it up


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 is 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 a family who must learn to live together.

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

Univision's signature Saturday night variety/game show, "Sabado Gigante," is undergoing a major renovation, with plans to bring a faster pace and more modern look.

Univision also is adding two reality shows, the singing competition "Viva el Sueno!" (Live the Dream) and soccer-themed "El Juego Supremo" (The Ultimate Match).

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