Univision touts World Cup, novelas, reality

New fare showcased at Spanish-language net's upfront

The 2010 World Cup, new novelas and reality shows all play key roles in Univision's program development for the 2009-10 season, the network said late Thursday.

The World Cup, originating from South Africa in June-July 2010, will be featured on all three Univision networks, with 56 live games airing on the flagship net and another eight contests airing on sister network Telefutura. Both Telefutura and sibling cable network Galavision will rebroadcast 52 World Cup matches.

"Year after year, Univision broadcasts many of the most watched programs, which on many nights outdeliver its English-language network competitors," said Ray Rodriguez, president and COO, Univision Communications Inc., in a statement. "We are very excited about our 2009-2010 lineups, including once again being the exclusive Spanish-language home of the World Cup, which reached 50 million viewers in 2006 and is sure to be an even greater success in 2010 in high definition across our networks."

New novelas include "Atrevete a Sonar" ("Dare to Dream"), a modern-day ugly duckling story; "Un Gancho al Corazon" ("A Blow to the Heart"), a comedy of errors story about an ex-stock-car champion racer meeting a beautiful female boxer; "En Nombre del Amor" ("In the Name of Love"), a family drama of two sisters, Macarena and Carlota, who fall in love with the same man and pay dearly for their love; and "Sortilegio" ("Lucky Spell"), which is centered around a woman who falls in love with and marries a man with a dual identity.

Two new reality shows will debut on Sunday nights, including "Viva El Sueno" ("Live the Dream"), a 13-week competition series that showcases talented, but struggling, professional Hispanic performers who need just one big break to make it to stardom. The show features a panel of renowned music-industry experts but viewers will vote and choose the winner.

The other new reality show is "Hazme Reir y Seras Millionario" ("Make Me Laugh and Become a Millionaire"), which features teams of three -- a contestant, a comedian and a celebrity -- who work to make the audience and the judges laugh. Hosts Marco Antonio Regil and Angelica Vale provide the teams with challenges of improv, parody, sketches and imitations. The winner gets cash and a trip to the 2010 World Cup.

Telefutura will air the new novela "Dona Bella" ("Beautiful Lady"), described as a passionate love story that follows the captivating life of a beautiful woman who falls in love with a member of a prominent and conservative family.

Telefutura will also air a new package of films including "El Cantante," based on the true story of the rise and fall of salsa singer Hector Lavoe, staring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. Other new titles include "Snakes on a Plane"; "I, Robot"; and "A Man Apart."

In addition to World Cup and World Cup-related programming, Galavision will present new documentaries on killer whales and Antarctica, among other new fare.