Azteca America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mexican broadcaster TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V., unveiled its 2014-2015 programming lineup at its annual Upfront presentation in New York. The network announced a strengthened soccer lineup, groundbreaking programs, revamped returning hits with more superstars that the U.S. audience knows and loves, strategic partnerships with digital content leaders, and an evolution of the Azteca brand.
An exciting announcement of the night was the return of one of Mexico's legendary teams, Santos, to Azteca's Liga MX lineup. Azteca revealed that this fall the network will create a new sports franchise, Friday Night Futbol, with two live primetime games every Friday night to kick off the weekend.
"We're thrilled to have Santos join our already strong lineup of teams and to bring viewers to what will be appointment television for Hispanic soccer fans," said Manuel Abud, President and CEO of Azteca.
On the novela front, Azteca is launching an original super production featuring mega celebrities Edith Gonzalez, Mauricio Islas and Saul Lizaso. Las Bravo is the story of Valentina Bravo and her three daughters -- wealthy, privileged, and prejudiced women whose sheltered world falls apart with the death of the family's patriarch. Left behind with an exorbitant debt, the four women are forced to push aside their pride and get their hands dirty managing their newly found cash cow -- a strip club for women. Las Bravo must learn to get along with a group of male performers equally desperate for survival. Along the way, Las Bravo will learn independence, find themselves, and discover plenty of opportunities for love.
Azteca also presented a breakthrough variety concept for primetime, El Hormiguero, hosted by the popular Mauricio Mancera, who along with celebrity guests, performs the most bizarre and mind-blowing science experiments and engages in the craziest games in this variety show.
Azteca is breaking new ground by introducing a new comedy format to Hispanic audiences, El Club del Chiste, a humorous show starring the classic, infallible joke as the main character in a modern and cosmopolitan setting. Behind the set, which is designed to resemble the classic comedy club, our comedians show us their most personal side. The viewer is allowed backstage, where the cast experiences situations that are as funny as they are human. The jokes' frenetic pace transform this air time into a veritable joke merry-go-round, showcasing a variety of styles that is as diverse as the cast that tells them.
"It's no secret that Latinos love comedy," said Margarita Black, Vice President of Programming, "El Club del Chiste will be the first step in a new strategy to create several quality comedy franchises."
The network introduced a new special awards program, Premio Mujer. The show recognizes the outstanding achievement of Hispanic Women in the U.S. It will be the first of its kind, and the award will distinguish women from a diversity of fields, social backgrounds and professional endeavors. Premio Mujer seeks to highlight leadership and careers of women whose contributions in their respective fields have served as examples to Hispanics and U.S. society as a whole. Social media will play an important part in Premio Mujer's nomination and final voting tally process.
Azteca returning hits include, La Academia Kids, Ventaneando, Venga La Alegria, and Al Extremo.
La Academia Kids is a music-based reality show in which child contestants, along with their parents, get an opportunity to live in "The House," a boarding school-style music academy that immerses these young students in musical development lessons aimed at helping each of them reach their highest potential. The students perform in weekly televised concerts where the viewers' vote decides who stays at La Academia and who goes home. Singing is not a game; La Academia Kids portrays the effort given by the children and the necessary discipline needed to become a star.
Ventaneando continues to deliver hot celebrity news from all over the U.S. and Mexico exclusively on Azteca. Iconic hostess Pati Chapoy and her team, Atala Sarmiento, Daniel Bisogno, Jimena Pérez and Pedro Sola, serve up the hottest celebrity coverage. With so many exclusive stories, surprising gossip, and scandalous secrets, what more could viewers ask for?
Venga La Alegría Poncho de Andajoins the cast ofVenga La Alegría,a morning entertainment show with segments appealing to all audiences. The show features beauty tips, cooking lessons, games, comedy sketches, and health and nutrition advice presented by hosts Raquel Bigorra, Sergio Sepúlveda, Tábata Jalil, Raúl Osorio, Vanessa Claudio, and Tania Rincón.
Al Extremo returns with a revamped cast and all-new segments. Veronica del Castillo joins Gaby Crassus in hosting the show that dares to say what others don't. Al Extremo redefines TV news, taking viewers on a wild ride through the most impactful news events around the world.
At the New York event, attended by leading marketing and advertising executives from around North America, Azteca announced the formation of the Azteca Station Group. Since January 2014, the broadcaster has gone from managing and operating 4 stations to 16. The Azteca Station Group now operates in 9 of the top 10 Hispanic Markets.
"Each of the stations will be resourced to execute national promotions at the local level," said Enrique Pèrez, Executive Vice President of Stations. "All of our national programs and platforms will now feature local extensions and marketing solutions designed to generate traffic and drive sales for advertisers in the biggest Hispanic Markets in the country."
Azteca is keeping pace with the vanguard of social television by partnering with cutting edge digital content producers. Court Stroud, Executive Vice President of Network Sales and Digital, announced a partnership with Youtoo Technologies, the only social TV platform that allows viewers to participate in television programming from virtually any location.
"We are very excited to be working with the inspirational team at Azteca to enable interactive programming," said Cary Wyatt, COO for Youtoo Technologies. "We know Azteca and their viewers will be very pleased with our patented products and service."
Azteca brings its multi-channel network IrreverenTV to the U.S. IrreverenTV features digital content produced by established vloggers who act as promoters for a new generation. IrreverenTV provides ample content marketing opportunities by creating unique customized branded videos for its millennial audience.
At the presentation, it was announced that Azteca America is evolving into Azteca, the official brand of the network, a change that reflects the network's core audience, an audience composed of the market segment that makes up the largest portion of the US Hispanic Market.